Air India may furnish bonds to AAI in bid to clear dues

New Delhi: With existing dues of over Rs700 crore, and more piling up by the month, and no indications of a badly-struggling Air India being in any kind of position to clear them, state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) is now trying to make the best out of a bad situation by asking the national carrier to issue it secure redeemable debentures.

Senior AAI officials say that AI has dues of Rs733 crore which increases every month as AI clears just Rs20-25 crore of a monthly bill of Rs35 crore. The question of clearing outstanding dues doesn't arise with AI unable to clear even its current bills.

The AAI is settling on the debenture route with the government making it clear that it is committed to keeping the state-owned carrier alive. The airports authority also calculates that the debenture route will allow it to earn interest on its dues whereas it gets back nothing now.

The AAI is also faced with a fund crunch to implement its projects even as AI dues mount.

According to a restructuring plan prepared by SBI Caps, AI requires Rs6,600 crore in funds to meet immediate requirements, along with an equity infusion of Rs1,772 crore in the current fiscal.

It is besieged on all sides by vendors who are clamouring for past dues. The government itself refuses to clear past dues incurred by AI for hosting VVIP flights.