New Delhi: Dues of four major domestic airlines — IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and AirAsia India — to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have more than doubled between February and July amid the coronavirus pandemic, senior officials said.
However, the domestic airline that owes the highest amount of dues to the AAI is Air India. The national carrier’s dues to the AAI increased by 2.75 per cent to Rs 2,258.27 crore in this period, the officials noted.
An airline has to pay various charges like air navigation, landing, parking etc to the AAI to use facilities at any of its more than 100 airports. Both Air India and the AAI work under the Civil Aviation Ministry.
India has six major domestic carriers, IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir, AirAsia India, Air India and Vistara, which owed to the AAI a total of Rs 2562.04 crore as on August 1 and this was around 10 per cent more than on February 1, the officials told PTI.
They said India’s largest airline IndiGo’s dues stood at 41.62 crore on February 1, which increased by 130.6 per cent to Rs 95.99 crore in the subsequent six-month period.
The aviation sector has been hugely impacted because of travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the six major domestic carriers have instituted various cost-cutting measures like pay cuts, layoffs or leave without pay during the last few months.
SpiceJet, which is India’s second-largest carrier, had dues of Rs 65.35 crore to the AAI on February 1, which increased to Rs 132.4 crore by August 1, the officials stated.
Due to non-payment of dues, the AAI had on August 1 put SpiceJet on cash and carry mode, which means the airline has to pay charges daily at AAI-run airports to operate flights from there.
SpiceJet spokesperson told PTI, “SpiceJet remains firmly committed to its obligations. We continue to have normal operations at all AAI-run airports as before.” —PTI