Govt partially clears AI dues

Mumbai: Faced with Air India's mounting woes, accumulating with every passing day, the Union government has decided it was time to clear long-standing dues and has cleared a payment of Rs250 crore for using its aircraft for VVIP charters and evacuation flights.

The government owes the badly struggling carrier a total of Rs323 crore for such charters and evacuation flights.

It may be pertinent to note that the total amount, which was released on Friday, has been due since 2008.

Government officials said the balance amount is expected to be cleared soon.

Air India also has a pending demand of Rs800 crore, accumulated because of staff costs and maintenance charges of Boeing 747-400 aircraft, which are used for VVIP flights. The government is yet to agree to this demand.

The airline claims since these aircraft are largely used for VVIP flights, the government must bear the cost. Air India has four Boeing 747-400 aircraft, of which two are pulled out of commercial operations for VVIP flights.