AI trying to be profitable through cancellation charges: Chidambaram

New Delhi: Former finance minister P Chidambaram hit out at Air India saying that the national carrier has found a new way to become profitable through ticket cancellation charges.

His statement comes after an Air India Mumbai-Delhi flight, he was scheduled to travel in, cancelled and he was charged Rs 3,000 as cancellation fees.

“I booked Delhi-Mumbai by AI 665 for Saturday. Ticket issued. AI, not me, cancelled the flight today and charged me Rs 3,000 for cancellation!,” Chidambaram tweeted tagging Air India, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha.

In another tweet, Chidambaram said, “If 100 tickets had been issued, AI will make a neat profit of Rs 3 lakh simply by cancelling the flight! Bravo!”

Responding to Chidambaram, Air India said that the ticket was issued by a travel agent, who erroneously levied cancellation charges, adding, the “agent is being advised to amend the same”.

“Sir it is true that AI 665 of 27th Oct is being combined with subsequent flight operating an hour later. The ticket was issued by a travel agent. The travel agent has erroneously levied cancellation charges. The travel agent is being advised to amend the same,” the airline said in a tweet.

The loss-making national carrier, Air India, has a total debt burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore and it continues to stay afloat on a bailout package extended by the erstwhile UPA government in 2012.