Air India pilots' strike landing airports in losses

Ashwini Phadnis New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2011

Air India aircraft parked at the Mumbai International Airport as the strike by the airline’s pilots entered the fourth day on Saturday. — Shashi Ashiwal

Airports are losing a couple of crores a day because of the Air India pilots' agitation. If the agitation continues for a week, Delhi airport alone could incur a loss of several crores of rupees. Air India pays it Rs 26-28 crore every month, on a fortnightly basis.

An airline has to pay an airport about Rs 1,50,000 for every take-off and landing of an Airbus A-320 aircraft. Air India operates about 80 flights a day just from Delhi. Which means, Delhi Airport earns about Rs 1 crore a day.

The agitation has severely affected Airbus A-320 operations, the mainstay of the domestic operations. These aircraft are also used to operate flights to some short-haul foreign destinations such as Singapore and Kathmandu. Air India has now been trying to maintain operations by pressing the larger white-bodied aircraft for domestic flights. Such aircraft are generally used to operate flights to the US, Europe, West Asia and the Far-East.

The situation at Mumbai airport is no better. Air India has about 80-90 take-offs and landings a day, of which about 70-80 per cent have been impacted. Result: The airport is not getting landing and parking charges for these flights. “No figure can be put on the loss as the strike has been on for only three days,” a spokesman said.

This is true of the Airports Authority of India too. Air India owes AAI over Rs 650 crore. Sources indicated that in the case of Air India, the Authority adjusts whatever is paid against the Rs 650-crore outstanding, rather than reconcile bills that the airline has run up in the last two weeks.

Published on April 30, 2011

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