Air India owes Rs.2,310 crore to oil firms

"At the end of the first fortnight of September, the outstanding dues, excluding interest, of Air India and its subsidiary companies are Rs.2,310.65 crore," Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi informed the Lok Sabha in a statement.

According to the statement, the flag carrier and its subsidiaries owe Rs.1,563.67 crore to Indian Oil Corp, followed by Rs.409.82 crore to Bharat Petroleum Corp and Rs.337.16 crore to Hindustan Petroleum Corp.

The minister also informed parliament that Air India's request for a credit period of three months was approved in a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the group of ministers (GoM) formed to look into the turnaround plan of the national carrier.

"The credit period, however, was agreed without exempting Air India from payment of interest," the minister said. He said Air India had withdrawn services from 14 non-profitable routes, including both domestic and international.

The routes mentioned by the minister are: Mumbai-Sharjah, Calicut-Doha-Bahrain, Mumbai-Vadodra, Kolkata-Ahmedabad, Hyderabad-Mumbai, Chennai-Mumbai-Kuwait, Hyderabad- Cochin-Coimbatore-Hyderabad, Kolkata-Hyderabad-Kolkata, Bangalore-Singapore, Chennai-Coimbatore, Cochin-Agatti, Mumbai-Nairobi, Jaipur-Kolkata and Chennai-Damman.

The statement comes at a time when the Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines is being criticised for cutting 50 flights daily, especially on non-profitable routes. The minister said the national carrier had a working capital loan of Rs.22,000 crore, as well as Rs.21,000 crore debt for buying new aircraft. The airline suffered revenue losses worth Rs.200 crore during a pilots' strike from April 27 to May 7.

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