Kingfisher Airlines yet to pay up Rs 54 cr tax: CBEC

New Delhi: Cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines has paid Rs 15 crore as service tax dues in April this year but is still to pay up Rs 54 crore arrear, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) Chairman S K Goel said today.

"They (Kingfisher Airlines) are paying their monthly dues every month. They are also paying their arrears. Last month, they paid about Rs 15 crore…Rs 54 crore total arrears left," Goel told reporters here. The airline, which has massively cut down operations including completely winding up international services, owed a total of Rs 76 crore as service tax dues in 2011-12, which it has already collected from passengers.

When asked, if the department was planning any action against Kingfisher, Goel said, "Any action which is required by law will be taken by the concerned field formation where they are paying duty." Non-payment of service tax dues is a serious offence as it amounts to diversion of public money or tax revenue already recovered by the airline from the passengers or other parties for depositing with the government. Kingfisher Airlines has been facing financial troubles for almost a year now.

The airline, which never made a profit since its inception in May 2005, reported a net loss of Rs 444.26 crore in the December 2011 quarter. It suffered a loss of Rs 1,027 crore in 2010-11 and has a debt of Rs 7,057.08 crore. Due to paucity of funds, the air carrier now operates only 110 flights a day with a fleet of 20 aircraft as against 400 flights per day last year with 66 planes. The airline had a 6.4 per cent market share in March, and was ranked below the budget carrier GoAir, which cornered 7.5 per cent market share in the same period.