Updated: Sep 13, 2019
State-owned oil marketing companies on Saturday resumed fuel supplies to loss-making Air India at six airports, weeks after they had suspended doing so.
An official spokesperson said: “Supplies to Air India resumed from Saturday evening."
Declining to give details of the agreement reached at negotiations, the fuel supply was restored following government-mediated talks earlier this week. The airline has ''committed" to pay Rs 100 crore per month to clear the outstanding dues of Rs 4,300 crore, official sources said.
Though Air India has been on a cash-and-carry mode since April, and has been paying Rs 18 crore daily towards fuel bills, IOC (Indian Oil Companies) has provided a 90-day credit to Air India without collateral's. However the dues had been mounting, for over 240 days. As a result, last month, IndianOil along with Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum stopped supplying fuel to the state-run carrier in Pune, Vizag, Cochin, Patna, Ranchi and Mohali. An Air India official said that fuel supplies were restored after it agreed to pay the oil firms Rs 100 crore (roughly $1,39,75,000) per month to clear the outstanding debt.
In other news, Air India has planned to launch 'Namaskar Sewa', a meet and greet service wherein dedicated personnel will receive the customers at the airport entry gate and assist them until they are seated in the aircraft. A similar service was being provided to Business Class passengers, but now it is planning to do the same in Delhi for Economy class passengers as well. An official said: "We have already been providing such services to our first-class customers. There is a feedback that at times, business and economy class passengers faced some issues at airports and did not have a pleasant experience. With Namaskar Sewa, we are aiming to address those issues".
Namaskar Sewa would be offered to passengers at a very nominal fee. As per Air India officials, if you book a dedicated assistant via Namaskar Sewa, you will have to pay Rs 750 ($10.48) for domestic flights and Rs 1500 ($20.96) for international flights. Passengers can book a maximum of only three assistants at a time for the Namaskar Sewa services. The initiative also comes at a time when the airline is grappling with stiff competition and complaints about its services. The airline plans to roll out the initiative in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad airports in the upcoming days.