Air India faces fuel supply cut, flights to get hit

Air India. (File Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Air India might end up cancelling several flights after September 6 as the state-owned fuel retailers have threatened to cut off supplies to the cash-strapped national carrier at Hyderabad and Raipur.

“Several flights are operated out of Hyderabad, which is one of our hubs. It will not be possible for us to sustain the entire operation, if fuel supply is stopped. We might have to cancel several flights,” a senior Air India official told IANS.

Last week, state-owned oil marketing companies (OMCs), led by IndianOil, had stopped fuel supply to Air India at six — Ranchi, Mohali, Patna, Vizag, Pune and Cochin — airports over non-payment of dues.

The airline could operate flights from these destinations as the aircraft were pre-loaded with fuel for a round-way trip.

But it might not be the case for larger destinations, like Hyderabad and Raipur, with Air India operating over 50 flights from there.

“At present, we are making daily payments for fuel, which comes to around Rs 18 crore. But in the absence of equity support, we can’t handle the huge debt service liabilities as of now,” the official said.

The three OMCs in a letter to Air India said, “It’s once again requested to make lump sum payments towards outstandings, including interest, at the earliest, failing which OMCs will be constrained to extend the suspension of supplies to Hyderabad and Raipur with effect from 2 p.m. of September 6.”

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