After major oil PSUs issued Air India an ultimatum on Thursday, the national carrier on Saturday said, “The issues with oil companies are being sorted out and will be resolved early.”
Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar also assured passengers, saying, “Air India has taken all measures to ensure that flights are not disrupted and passengers do not face inconvenience at all. There is no reason for any concern to the esteemed Air India passengers.”
Air India has been facing wrath from oil companies over unpaid fuel bills and delayed payments.
The oil companies had asked Air India to make the monthly lump sum payment by October 18 or they will stop the fuel supply at six major domestic airports.
Earlier on October 5, the oil companies had told Air India that if it did not make the monthly lump sum payment, they will stop fuel supply from October 11 at “six major domestic airports”.
Subsequently, Air India had sent a letter to the oil marketing companies (OMCs) requesting them not to stop the fuel supply following which the latter deferring its decision to suspend supplies to October 18, 2019.
On October 10, Air India received a letter from three oil PSUs — Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL). The letter said, “Commitment towards daily payment has been mostly adhered to by Air India… the outstanding has not come down considerably in the absence of the committed monthly lump sum payment.”
In August, the three fuel retailers had stated that Air India owed Rs 5,000 crore in unpaid fuel bills with payments being delayed by almost eight months.
On August 22, Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) had stopped fuel supplies to Air India at six airports of Kochi, Mohali, Pune, Patna, Ranchi and Vizag over payment defaults.
However, after the intervention of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, they resumed the fuel supply on September 7.
The Centre is planning to initiate the process of divestment of its stake in Air India, which has a debt of over Rs 60,000 crore, from November this year. In 2018-19, the national carrier posted a net loss of around Rs 8,400 crore.