New Delhi, Dec 26 (PTI) The Airports Authority of India (AAI) dues of the country’s four major domestic airlines Indigo, SpiceJet, GoFirst and Air Asia India have more than doubled between January 2020 and October 2021. This information has been obtained from internal documents of AAI.
However, Air India has the highest dues of AAI. According to the documents, Air India’s dues on AAI increased from Rs 2,183.71 crore as on January 1, 2020, to Rs 2,362.36 crore as of October 31, 2021.
An airline has to pay various charges such as air navigation, landing, parking to use the facilities at any of AAI’s more than 100 airports. Both Air India and AAI work under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
On October 8, the government announced that the Tata group had won the bid to acquire Air India. The Center is expected to hand over Air India to Tata in the first half of 2022.
According to the documents, the six major domestic airlines in India Indigo, SpiceJet, GoAir, Air Asia India, Air India and Vistara owe AAI a total of Rs 2,306.59 crore as on January 1, 2020. The dues of these six major companies increased by 14.29 per cent to Rs 2,636.34 crore as on October 31, 2021, the documents said. Vistara and IndiGo have clarified that all their dues have been cleared, while SpiceJet said their dues are within credit limits.
India’s largest airline IndiGo owed Rs 80.69 crore in October 2021, compared to Rs 33.21 crore in January 2021. When asked about this, an IndiGo spokesperson told PTI, “As per our records, all dues to AAI as on 31 October 2021 have been paid within the stipulated date.”
AAI documents said SpiceJet’s dues with AAI increased from Rs 69.93 crore in January 2020 to Rs 146.75 crore as of October 2021. However, a SpiceJet spokesperson said the total dues to AAI (of the airline) as on 31 October 2021 stood at Rs 122.69 crore.
SpiceJet is making daily payments of Rs 1.10 crore as per the payment plan agreed with AAI. A SpiceJet spokesperson said, “The aviation industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors due to the pandemic, which has led to tariff hikes, while our revenues were down to a negligible extent.”
The spokesman said that unlike other countries, no relief or any waiver on their charges was offered by the government or airport operator during the pandemic.
GoFirst and AirAsia India did not respond to PTI’s queries on the dues. According to the documents, the extension dues to AAI increased from Rs 2.65 crore in January 2020 to Rs 3.9 crore in October 2021. A Vistara spokesperson said the increase in dues is purely on account of increase in operations, increase in fleet size and increase in passenger numbers.