New Delhi: The Central government’s repeated claims of trying hard to bail out the national carrier - Air India - from the deep financial mess have once again been exposed. While the Centre promises a special financial package to Air India, but when it comes to clear its arrears, the government agencies have failed to do so.

Officials of almost all the ministries use the airline frequently, but end up forgetting to pay the fare. Recently, Air India operated special flights to strife-stricken Egypt and Libya to bring Indians back home, but the airlines has yet to be paid for these services.

According to sources, the officials of the aviation company raised the issue of outstanding dues during a Union Cabinet meet held last week for clearing the airlines’ dues on government-owned oil companies.

“The government companies are not ready to give even one week credit to the airline for Air Turbine Fuel (ATF), but other government agencies owe crores of rupees to the airlines, Why doesn’t the government speed up the process of clearing its outstanding amount to the airline?” the airline officials reportedly asked in the meeting attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi and Petroleum Minister Jaipal Reddy. 

The government has yet to clear other dues such as Haj subsidy to the company.

The airline provides VVIP services to the government officials under which the government owes Rs 1,000 crore to the airline. The major culprits for it are Defence Ministry, Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister Office (PMO).

In total, the government agencies owe Rs 2,200 to the aviation company, out of which the company received only Rs 250 crore recently.
The airline is likely to post a net loss of more than Rs 5,800 crore for the financial year 2011-12.