Oil firms threaten to stop fuel supply to AI at 2 more airports
Hyderabad and Raipur will on September 2 join the airports in Ranchi, Mohali, Patna, Viisakhapatnam, Pune and Cochin where Air India flights will be denied refuelling facilities by the oil companies, officials said.Updated: Sep 01, 2019 11:20 IST
State-owned oil companies have threatened to stop fuel supplies to cash-strapped Air India at two more airports, posing the risk of flight disruptions the airline has so far avoided, officials in the civil aviation ministry said on condition of anonymity.
Hyderabad and Raipur will on September 6 join the airports in Ranchi, Mohali, Patna, Viisakhapatnam, Pune and Cochin where Air India flights will be denied refuelling facilities by the oil companies, the officials said.
The threat comes despite civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri this week offering a government letter of comfort to oil companies assuring them that their dues would be cleared.
“We have been managing till now though flights of Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, were affected. We were managing by carrying extra fuel while operating to these destinations. But if fuel supply is stopped at other airports as well, we would have to start cancelling flights,” said an Air India official, requesting anonymity.
According to the official, until March 31, the airline owed R 4,600 crore for fuel, which had been reduced to R 4,300 crore by July 31.
Air India chairman and managing director Ashwani Lohani admitted this week that the flag carrier’s financials weren’t sound enough, but said it was hopeful of making an operational profit this year, and was looking to launch new flights, improving its service to first-class passengers and offering special packages to travellers .
Air India, which incurred a loss of Rs.4,000 crore in 2018-19 and is laden with Rs.55,000 crore of debt, has a revenue target of Rs 31,000 crore in this financial year. It is targeting an operational profit of Rs 1,000 crore at the least.