AAI faces a ‘bouncer’ of cheques
According to the information furnished by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) in reply to an application filed under a Right to Information (RTI) Act, since the year 2000 many cheques issued to the airports under the southern region of the AAI have bounced involving an amount of Rs. 7.23 crore. The cheques were issued by the different Airlines such as Air India, JetLite, Paramount Airways etc. These included 25 cheques involving an amount of Rs. 5.8 crore issued to Chennai and other airports controlled by it, 8 cheques involving an amount of Rs1.7 crore issued to Mangalore airport,1 cheque involving an amount of Rs1.6 lakh issued to Hyderabad Airport etc. In terms of Airlines, Air India issued 8 cheques of Rs.1.7 crore, Air India Express issued 7 cheques of Rs. 95 lakh, JetLite issued 5 cheques amounting Rs. 28 lakh and Paramount Airways issued three cheques for an amount totalling Rs. 4.1 crore, which were dishonoured.
It has also been revealed in a RTI application that the Kingfisher Airlines had issued 5 cheques amounting Rs.122 crore between August 25, 2011 and February 21, 2012 to the AAI which bounced due to insufficient funds. It is not known whether the AAI had not initiated any action against the airline.
The aviation sector has been facing a downturn and while the airports need modernization, the RTI application reveals that the payment of fees by the airlines and other parties for using the airport seems to be on the back-bench.