Legal action to be taken against defaulting airlines: Patel

December 23rd, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) The government Tuesday said it would take “all possible steps, including legal action” against airlines if they continue to default on airport service charge dues. According to the government, the airlines owe around Rs.11.01 billion (Rs.1,101 crore) to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in the airport service charge.

“The government has given instructions to the AAI to take all possible steps, including legal action, against the defaulting airlines,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told parliament Tuesday.

Interestingly, the state-run Air India owes the maximum in dues to the AAI. The flagship carrier has to clear arrears to the tune of Rs.7.39 billion.

Leading private airline Jet Airways owes Rs.320.78 million to the airports operators, while Kingfisher Airlines owes Rs.2.86 billion.

Low-cost carriers SpiceJet, IndiGo Airlines and GoAir have to pay Rs.150.76 million, Rs.60 million and Rs.80.81 million respectively. Paramount Airways owes Rs.120.5 million to the authority.

“Due to reduction in flights and passenger flow, there is a reduction in the revenue of the AAI and other private airport developers,” Patel said.

The AAI reported a fall in revenue to the tune of Rs.2.28 billion in the April-September period this year, compared to the last corresponding period.

The airlines also owe Rs.487.5 million to Hyderebad International Airport Ltd (HIAL) and Rs.410 million to Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL).

The Indian carriers also owe nearly Rs.28 billion to oil companies.

They were Oct 22 given a breather until March 2009 to clear their dues to the oil companies.

Besides, the airlines have been given an extended credit period on jet fuel purchase to 90 days from 60 days and would be applicable till March 2009.

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