Mumbai airport tells SpiceJet to pay up or go cash-&-carry

Mumbai airport on Tuesday asked cash-strapped carrier SpiceJet to immediately clear dues to the extent of Rs5 crore and provide bank guarantees of Rs15 crore, an issue the airline claimed has been "sorted out".

Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the private airport operator, in its notice to SpiceJet also said it will put the airline in cash-and carry mode if it did not make the payment.

"SpiceJet has been told to pay Rs5 crore, which it owes to the airport on account of landing and parking charges. Besides, it has also been asked to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs15 crore as collateral against the future dues," MIAL sources told PTI.

The sources claimed that the private airport operator has already been given a 50-per cent waiver in dues and it is "high time" the airline clear all the outstanding payments.

SpiceJet owes around Rs240 crore to the Airports Authority of India as well.

MIAL refused to comment on the issue when contacted. A SpiceJet spokesperson, however, said that the issue with MIAL has been sorted out. "This issue (of notice for dues) has been sorted out with the Mumbai Airport," the spokesperson said in a statement.

SpiceJet, which was facing fund drought for almost one year till recently, is currently in the process of ownership and control change.

Last week, the carrier went back to original promoter Ajay Singh in a multi-layered deal worth up to Rs1,500 crore, with Dayanidhi Maran and his family agreeing to cede control with transfer of over 53 per cent stake in the airline (See: Marans exit SpiceJet, transfer ownership to Ajay Singh).

In December last year, the airline remained grounded for one full day after the oil companies refused to provide fuel without cash payment (SpiceJet stays firmly grounded as oil firms refuse fuel on credit ).

However, the government came to its rescue and asked the oil companies and AAI to extend the credit facility period to enable the airline run its operations (SpiceJet resumes flights on ''cash-and-carry'' fuel).