Airports Authority of India (AAI) has requested the government to waive the compulsory dividend payment requirement for the financial year ended March 2022, in lieu of the waiver of Air India's dues done prior to the sale of the carrier.
State-owned AAI, which is in the red mainly after the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to post a loss of Rs 800-900 crore in 2021-22 fiscal.
AAI Chairman Sanjeev Kumar said it has recovered "good ground" and is anticipated to lower the loss in the last financial year. The financial results for 2021-22 will be finalised in the coming months.
According to him, AAI had settled Air India's dues worth around Rs 2,000 crore when it was under the ownership of the government. Under the settlement, 50 per cent of the total dues were waived.
An amount of Rs 1,000 crore was received by AAI as part of the settlement. Air India was acquired by Tatas in the last financial year.
"AAI in lieu of waiving of dues of Air India has requested the government to waive the compulsory dividend that has to be paid every year. DIPAM (Department of Investment and Public Asset Management) has given us the in-principle approval for the proposal," Kumar told PTI in an interview.
Under current norms, AAI has to pay an annual dividend amounting to 5 per cent of its net worth or 30 per cent of its annual profit, whichever is higher.
Since the state-owned entity will be in the red, it will have to shell out an amount equivalent to 5 per cent of the net worth for the last fiscal. AAI has requested the government to waive this dividend amount in lieu of the waiver of the dues of Air India when it was owned by the government.
In 2019-20, which was also when AAI recorded an annual loss for the first time since its inception, it had paid a dividend of Rs 671.70 crore to the government.
AAI has recovered "good ground" and is expected to lower its loss in 2021-22. "We expect to report a loss of Rs 800-900 crore in the financial year 2021-22. The financial results will be finalised in the coming months," Kumar said.
For the fiscal ended March 2021, AAI had reported a loss of Rs 1,962.06 crore, while the total revenue stood at Rs 4,867.04 crore. It had a profit after tax of Rs 1,985.09 crore on a total revenue of Rs 12,837.44 crore in 2019-20.
Kumar said that for the current financial year ending March 31, 2023, AAI hopes to "reach at least 80 per cent of the pre-COVID level in terms of financial performance".
AAI manages 137 airports, including 80 domestic airports. It also provides Air Traffic Management Services (ATMS) over entire Indian airspace and adjoining oceanic areas with ground installations at all airports and 25 other locations to ensure safety of aircraft operations, as per its website.