Air India to reduce flights to tackle fuel ban

New Delhi: Under mounting pressure to clear dues to airport operators and fuel suppliers, apart from meeting regular operational expenses, state-owned carrier, Air India, has drawn up plans to combine 13 flights spread over a number of sectors till the start of the lean season from mid-June.

With three oil marketing companies, Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd, deciding to slash supply of jet fuel to the airline to about 500 kilolitres per day, sources said the carrier was now looking to implement a number of measures to get around the situation.

These would include tanking up on fuel at hubs like Dubai, London, Paris, Frankfurt and Bangkok, where the price of fuel is much cheaper.

According to latest figures, Air India owes a total of Rs2,250 crore to the three oil PSUs.

The airline has also decided to curtail 13 of its services by combining flights on certain sectors, including Delhi-Mumbai and Chhattisgarh, they said. The numbers of flights in the lean season, extending from 15 June to September, are curtailed in any case.

The badly struggling carrier has also sent a communiqué to the ministry of civil aviation urging it to clear an estimated Rs1,150 crore worth of dues on account of VVIP movements and evacuation flights including those to Libya.