Mumbai: State-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) may take the bond route to fund its on-going projects if it does not receive its around Rs 1,400 crore dues from the debt-ridden Air India, a source said.
The AAI has around Rs 800 crore still in its kitty to keep going, the source said, adding if the need arises it will float long-term infra bonds worth Rs 500 crore next year.
"We still have around Rs 800 crore parked with us to fund the various ongoing projects. We are awaiting Air India to clear our dues, and if that does not happen, then we will launch an infra bond issue worth Rs 500 crore," the highly placed AAI official told PTI here.
Currently, AAI is upgrading and modernising 35 non metro airports at an investment of Rs 4,565 crore. While most of them have been completed, work on the rest is underway.
Stating that Air India owes around Rs 1,400 crore to the AAI on account of landing and parking charges at different airports, the official said: "We expect them to clear the dues by this year."
The official said the funds are required to complete the on-going work on some non-metro airports.
AAI manages and operates 125 airports in the country.
However, of late, the government has decided to hand over the management and operations of six more airports-- Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jaipur and Lucknow -- to private companies.
The move is being vehemently opposed by the unions on the ground that the government's decision to give these airports to private companies will further diminish AAI's revenue, which has already gone down significantly following the privatisation of high traffic Delhi and Mumbai airports.
The unions have also alleged that this decision would only help "private parties and a few politicians".
The AAI unions have chalked out an agitation plan to protest the privatisation of six airports.
They have already started their protest by wearing black badges and also plan gate meetings, dharnas and a nationwide strike, if the government does not take back its decision.
The authority aims to operationalise around 225 airports across the country by 2020 for which it has asked all the states to prepare plans and create inventory of airports, which they want to develop and upgrade.