Troubles never seem to end for Kingfisher Airlines with state-run Airports Authority of India on Tuesday tightening the noose saying it wanted a "firm commitment" from the grounded carrier for clearance of over Rs 390 crore (Rs 3.9 billion) worth of dues before it is allowed to fly again.
"Our dues are more than Rs 390 crore, inclusive of penal interests. So we are asking a firm commitment in that because so far, what they have committed could not be honoured. We are asking for a firm commitment on the payment of the dues," AAI Chairman V P Aggarwal said.
Replying to questions, he said "though there is news that they are planning to restart operations, but there has not been any concrete proposal to us for dilution of our dues."
Asked whether the state-run airports body would settle for some "partial payment" of dues, Aggarwal said "we already had some cheques (from Kingfisher). One cheque of Rs 117 crore could not be encashed.
"That's an issue and the remaining (amount) was not covered and does not have any sort of guarantee. They have to give some guarantee. Bank cheques were presented but they bounced. A legal issue is going on."
To a question on whether the seizure of Kingfisher aircraft due to non-payment of dues was affecting the interests of lessors and was violative of the Cape Town Convention, the AAI chief said "I do agree that this is a problem as far as the Convention is concerned. We will soon have a meeting with Secretary on the issue soon."
He said it was "government's money that has to be securitised first. Some things you pay, some things you have to securitise or guarantee."
Aggarwal said several of Kingfisher's planes have been seized by airport operators or the Service Tax Department and parked at various airports till the airline cleared its dues.