Bombay HC asks Centre to clear Air India dues

Mumbai: Perhaps irked by Air India's constant appeals about its inability to pay staff salaries on time, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to file an affidavit indicating how and when it proposes to pay the staff.

The Centre has two weeks to file an affidavit in this regard.

Air India, the country's national airline, owes Rs74 crore in salary revision arrears to several groups of its executive staff, including cabin crew and pilots.

A bench of justices Dilip Bhosale and VK Tahilramani said the airline could no longer leave its staff hanging in the air and "has to set a deadline". The bench clarified that the carrier could pay in instalments phases, but must adhere to a schedule.

The HC was hearing a clutch of petitions against the national carrier related to unpaid dues.

Earlier, the airline's counsel, Sudhir Talsania, submitted AI's inability to clear the dues straight away.

Earlier this year, the Centre had distanced itself by informing the HC that "Air India's financial liabilities are not Government of India's liabilities."