New Delhi: India’s largest airline company by passengers, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, has paid part of its dues to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the two airports run by GMR Infrastructure Ltd to avoid paying in cash for further services.
The two operators had warned the Vijay Mallya-controlled carrier that its credit facility will be withdrawn from July because it had not paid dues of about Rs80 crore.
Less debt, more growth: A Kingfisher aircraft at New Delhi’s IGI airport. The firm is launching its fifth international flight in August. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
“We have received payment from them, so now they are within the Rs100 crore bank guarantee,” an AAI official said on condition of anonymity.
This means the airline would continue to have a credit facility, the official said. The company is required to furnish bank guarantees to cover charges for using the airports. A GMR Infrastructure executive also said Kingfisher Airlines had made partial payment to it.
Dues to the two airports that GMR runs at New Delhi and Hyderabad stood at around Rs40 crore before the part payment, said the executive, who declined to be named.
There was no response to emailed queries sent to Kingfisher Airlines on Thursday, and a follow-up text message sent on Friday.
Other airlines, such as the National Aviation Co. of India Ltd-run Air India and rival Jet Airways (India) Ltd, too, owe AAI. Dues as of April stood at Rs911.39 crore, including Rs691.15 crore from Air India, Rs113 crore from Kingfisher Airlines and Rs55.09 crore from Jet Airways and its low-fare subsidiary JetLite (India) Ltd, according to AAI.
India’s carriers lost around Rs9,740 crore in the fiscal year ended 31 March when oil prices spiked and passenger count fell. Many of these are finding it difficult to fund operations in the wake of the global crash crunch and some have missed payments to vendors, including the state-run oil marketeers.
The civil aviation ministry had warned Kingfisher Airlines to pay Rs44 crore it owes to AAI by 1 July after its Rs23 crore payment by cheque bounced, Mint reported on 4 June. AAI has now been paid Rs50 crore. The airline has a monthly bill averaging around Rs28 crore payable to AAI for using airports the operator runs.