Three ministries of the Central government — external affairs, defence and home — owe Air India a combined Rs 33.69 crore for operation of flights. According to an RTI information, external affairs owes Rs 20. 37 crore, defence Rs 6.12 crore and home affairs Rs 7.19 crore until July 31, 2021.
The RTI reply disclosed that outstanding dues of the home ministry are on account of VVIP flight operations of the prime minister. Dues under the defence ministry are for the president’s flights. The information was received by retired Commodore Lokesh Batra on October 14. The RTI reply disclosed that different public authorities of the government also owe Air India nearly Rs 268 crore.
While the defence ministry takes care of the President’s flights, the RTI reply showed that the single biggest outstanding bill from the President’s Office was Rs 4.45 crore, for travel between November 5, 2008 and November 8, 2008.
Dues under the external affairs ministry are on account of the vice-president’s flights, evacuation flights and flights for foreign dignitaries. The single largest outstanding bill from the vice-president’s office was Rs 5.95 crore. As on August 31, Air India had a total debt of Rs 61,562 crore. About 75% of this debt will be transferred to a special purpose vehicle AIAHL before handing over the airline to Tata Group.