Government owes Air India over Rs 325 crore for VVIP chartered flights

The national carrier, which is on the verge of being privatised, has provided details of pending bills towards various ministries responsible for the VVIP visits.

Published: 11th March 2018 08:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th March 2018 06:40 AM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose. (Reuters file photo)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The government owes a whopping Rs 325 crore to cash-strapped Air India as it is yet to pay expenses for many VVIP chartered flights to foreign countries, according to an RTI response.

The soon-to-be privatised Air India has provided details of pending bills towards various ministries responsible for the VVIP visits in its latest response to the information sought by Commodore (Retd) Lokesh Batra.

The details provided in the response dated March 8 shows that Rs 325.81 crore worth of bills for VVIP charter flights were pending as on January 31, 2018. Of the total pending bills, Rs 84.01 crore has been carried forward from the last financial year while the remaining Rs 241.80 crore is from bills generated this year.

In addition to the VVIP flights, Rs 345.946 crore also includes outstanding bills of Rs 20.966 crore towards services offered to visiting dignitaries and evacuation missions.Chartered aircraft for VVIPs—President, Vice President and the Prime Minister—for their visits abroad are provided by Air India, which modifies its commercial jets to suit the needs of the travelling dignitaries.

The bills for these aircraft are paid from the exchequer by the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Cabinet Secretariat.

The highest outstanding amount of Rs 178.55 crore was due from the MEA, followed by the Cabinet Secretariat and the PMO Rs Rs 128.84 crore, and the Ministry of Defence at Rs 18.42 crore. Outstanding bills of Rs 451.71 crore were carried forward, while bills of Rs 553 crore were generated this year—a total of Rs 1,004.72 crore.

Out of this, the government made a payment of Rs 678.91 crore this year.

In a separate response dated March 5, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has put the total outstanding bills to be Rs 346 crore as on December 31, 2017.

The response provided by the ministry also includes a break up of outstanding amount towards various ministries and details of invoices, which shows that out of outstanding invoices of Rs 182.22 crore towards flights of the President, Rs 174.22 crore was paid and Rs 8 crore was pending.

In the case of the Vice President, out of outstanding invoices of Rs 414.28 crore, Rs 216.02 crore was paid and Rs 198.254 crore is yet to be paid as on December 31, 2017.

Air Turbulence

■ J325.81 crore is the amount the government owes Air India for VVIP chartered flights.
■ J178.55 crore, the highest amount, is due from the Ministry of External Affairs.
■ J128.84 crore is what the Cabinet Secretariat and the PMO owe Air India.
■ J18.42 crore is how much the Ministry of Defence owes to the beleaguered airline.

(With Inputs from PTI)

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