AI runs up dues of hundreds of crores in airport charges

New Delhi: Badly struggling state-owned carrier Air India is reduced to such dire straits that it has defaulted on the payment of Airport Development Fees (ADF) to airport operators, along with other charges like landing and parking. According to the GMR and GVK Groups, developers and operators of the Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad airports, Air India has defaulted on payments of these fees which it collects from passengers on their behalf.

Apart from the ADF Air India has also pocketed the passenger service fee component which is meant to cover security-related expenses and other charges.

It now appears that the national carrier has been using this money to help it meet its operational expenses.

According to GMR officials, the combined dues of Delhi and Hyderabad airports, which it operates, are Rs224 crore, of which Rs50 crore is from ADF alone. At Mumbai, AI's ADF dues were over Rs6 crore as of 30 April 2011.

Apparently, in a recent communiqué, Delhi International Airport (DIAL) CEO IP Rao has informed Air India management the national carrier will have to clear 75% of the Rs190 crore due of Delhi and Rs34 crore dues of Hyderabad airports and submit plan for clearing the balance by Friday or else it would be put on a cash-and-carry basis from 1 June.

The Delhi airport management has also warned AI that unless it clears the overdue of Rs1.4 crore to Wipro Airport IT Services, the airline could lose access to IT services at terminal 3 (T3) from 1 June. It has warned the airline clearly that it would not be responsible for any inconvenience caused to passengers in this regard.