Travel agents saddle AI wings with debt

Travel agents saddle AI wings with debt

 Travel agents, including the Bangalore branch of a company, owed Rs 85.65 crore to Air India in the past two years, even as the airline recovered Rs 22.53 crore of these dues, the government informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

In 2013-14, seven travel agents owed Rs 72.28 crore, while Rs 22.53 crore was recovered by Air India. Of the Rs 13.36 crore owed by seven other travel agents in 2012-13, not a single rupee could be recovered by the national carrier.

This was disclosed by Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

One of the major defaulters is the Delhi branch of Aerojet Travel Services' that owed Rs 59.58 crore in 2013-14 and repaid Rs 22.42 crore. However, the Bangalore branch of Aerojet Travel Services still owes Air India Rs 10.92 lakh, Raju said.

Other defaulters include Airzip Holidays (Bhubhaneswar), Shree Sati Travels (Mumbai), Purushottam Bhagwan and Associates (Goa), EC Travel House (Chennai), Dolphin Travels, Jay Surya Overseas, Gulf Travels, SMG Princess Travel Service, Indian Travels, India International and Yes Travels (all in New Delhi). Air India took action against defaulting agents by blocking their access to the reservation system and processing refunds, terminating their membership from the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), besides legal action, Raju said.

To another question, Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeshwara said its losses have been declining over the years. While it was Rs 7,559.74 crore in 2011-12, it came down to Rs 5,490.16 crore in 2012-13 and further declined to Rs 5,388.82 crore in 2013-14.

Air India's operating revenues have grown from Rs 14,675.30 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 16,027.84 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 19,170.38 crore in 2013-14, while operating losses declined from Rs 5,140.74 crore to Rs 3,807.15 crore and Rs 2,123.78 crore during this period. 

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