New Delhi: Travel agents owe over Rs 85 crore to Air India in the past two years, with the national carrier recovering Rs 22.53 crore of these dues and taking action against the defaulters, Rajya Sabha was informed today. While the total default in 2012-13 amounted to Rs 13.37 crore, a sum of Rs 72.28 crore was due from the travel agents in 2013-14, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said in reply to questions.
He said the total amount recovered by Air India for these two years was Rs 22.53 crore, as the airline took action against defaulting agents by blocking their access to the reservation system and processing refunds, terminating their membership from the Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), besides legal action.
On Air India's financial health, Minister of State G M Siddeshwara said its losses have been declining over the years -- from Rs 7,559.74 crore in 2011-12, Rs 5,490.16 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 5,388.82 crore in 2013-14. The airline's operating revenue has grown from Rs 14,675.30 crore in 2011-12, to Rs 16,027.84 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 19,170.38 crore in 2013-14, while the operating losses have come down from Rs 5,140.74 crore, Rs 3,807.15 crore and Rs 2,123.78 crore during this period.
The airline has plans to dispose of its properties in Nairobi, Mauritius and Hong Kong and sell a plot of land at Coimbatore, the proposal for which has been processed for Cabinet approval, Siddeshwara said, adding it has already leased out its Nariman Point building in Mumbai to various companies. All these moves were part of the carrier's turnaround plan to generate Rs 5,000 crore over 10 years by monetising its assets. A global real estate consultant, M/S DTZ, has been appointed to assist Air India in this process, he said.