Malaysian carrier has committed to pay Rs 400 million in four installments
KATHMANDU, March 11: Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Civil Aviation Office (CAO) has given four months to Malaysia carrier AirAsia X to settle its dues.
The office took the decision after AirAsia X CEO Benyamin Ismail made a written commitment on Friday to clear Rs 400 million that the airline owes to the office by July 31 in four installments.
Earlier, TIA CAO had decided to ban AirAsia X from flying to Nepal if all the dues are not settled by March 6.
“We have decided to give AirAsia X four months to clear the dues after we received an email message from the AirAsia X CEO in which he has made commitment to clear all dues by mid-July as well as provide a bank guarantee of Rs 250 million,” Raj Kumar Chhetri, general manager of TIA CAO, said.
AirAsia X is required to pay TIA CAO Rs 270 million in service charge and Rs 130 million in fine, he added.
According to Chhetri, AirAsia X has committed to clear 40 percent of total dues by April 30, 20 percent by May 31, 20 percent by June 30 and remaining 20 percent by July 31.
Earlier, two officials of AirAsia X had visited Nepal to discuss the issue with TIA CAO. In the discussion, the AirAsia X officials had agreed to furnish bank guarantee of Rs 250 million within March 9 (Friday).
On Friday, however, AirAsia X sent an email to the TIA CAO, asking for more time to settle their dues.
This is the first time that AirAsia X has made commitment to clear the dues. Two months ago also, the carrier had expressed commitment to pay back the dues in installments after TIA CAO threatened to stop all its flights to and from Kathmandu if all the dues are not cleared within January 8. As per the commitment, AirAsia X was supposed to pay Rs 20 million on January 7 and Rs 100 million on January 8 while rest of the dues was supposed to be paid in installments.
However, the carrier paid only Rs 13 million on January 7.
Although Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) had directed the TIA management to halt flight operation of AirAsia X if it failed to clear dues by March 3, the TIA management had extended the ultimatum till March 6.
AirAsia X is currently operating five flights a week to Nepal.
More than two dozen international airlines had Rs 1.92 billion dues to settle with the TIA CAO. Republica had carried a story about outstanding dues of international airlines on November 17. After that, CAAN had formed an investigation committee under leadership of Birendra Shrestha, deputy director of CAAN. The committee had given the airlines December-end deadline to clear their dues. International airlines paid Rs 568 million within the given deadline.
TIA CAO is still to recover huge amount of dues from different international airlines.