Cash-strapped SpiceJet’s troubles seem to be far from over as the AAI has agreed to extend credit facility to the airline only for 15 days till December 31.
“The relief has been given only till December. If the airline does not want to be asked for a payment before flying in or out of any AAI-run airport in the country, it will have to show some funds in its account,” government sources said.
The airline, which was availing fuel supply by the oil marketing firms on cash-and-carry mode for the last six months, got a reprieve early this week from both the oil companies as well as Airports Authority of India (AAI) after the Civil Aviation Ministry stepped-in, requesting them to extend upto 15 days credit facility to avert the airline from being shutdown.
SpiceJet’s totally liabilities stands at Rs 2,000 crore including due to the AAI.
Meanwhile, its operations continued to be hit today with most of its flights from here and Mumbai getting delayed even as the airline claimed it was operating full curtailed schedule of 230 flights per day.
“SpiceJet operations continues to be delayed and most of the flights have either departed from or arrived late at the Delhi airport,” a source said.
Sources said that airline had operated 132 flights till 3 pm today of the planned 230 flights under the curtailed schedule, adding yesterday it operated 218 as against 230.
Yesterday, the airline was able to operate 218 of the scheduled 230 departures, officials said.
SpiceJet, however, in a statement claimed that its operations, which were disrupted due to the non-payment of dues to the oil companies early this week, have returned to normal and it will operate all 230 flights according to the schedule.
The airline also said that it has been operating additional services to tourist hubs such as Port Blair and Goa since Wednesday evening to accommodate passengers who were left stranded due to the the grounding of its operations for nearly 10 hours on Wednesday.
“SpiceJet is pleased to announce that it is continuing to operate its full schedule of flights. We have also operated extra flights since Wednesday evening to accommodate backlogged passengers in locations such as Port Blair and Goa,” the statement said.
Large number of travellers went on a spree cancelling SpiceJet tickets, with many of them shifting to other airlines, leading to massive jump in air fares.
“Air fares which had gone to astronomical levels are once again coming back to more normal levels after normalcy in our operations,” SpiceJet claimed.
In another development, the airline is understood to be in talks with various investors to over come the fund drought.
Ajay Singh, one of the original promoters of SpiceJet, who later exited from the Company yesterday met with senior airline officials besides meeting civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathy Raju.
Though Singh has refused to comment whether he was a potential investor in the airline, industry sources say that the SpiceJet could once again come onboard to the save the airline from going the Kingfisher way and may pump in around Rs 1,400-,1,500 crore in the ailing carrier.
Industrialist Viajay Mallaya’s had to ground his Kingfisher Airline in October 2012 for want of funds and he could not be revived it till today.
Singh, who retained only around 4.5 per cent stake in the airline when the current promoter Kalanithi Maran acquired SpiceJet in 2010 is said to be planning to increase his holding to 26 per cent or more, which could fetch the struggling carrier upto Rs 1,500 crore.