A Canadian court has dismissed a petition filed by Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) to squash an order that allows the seizure of ticket sales collected by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on behalf of the national carrier. However, in partial relief, it has limited the amount that may be seized to 50% of all funds presently held through IATA's Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP), while the remaining 50% must be released to the airline, both amounts retrospectively to December 21, 2021, when the initial order was passed.

The Superior Court of Quebec on January 8 did, however, set aside a separate order for the seizure of USD6.8 million in air service fees collected by IATA on behalf of the Airports Authority of India’s (AAI) and has directed IATA to release and remit the funds, Indian newspapers Business Standard and Business Today report. This followed an urgent appeal by the Indian regulator under the State Immunity Act in reaction to the initial order passed on November 15, 2021. The court also stayed all proceedings against the AAI.

Judge Michel A. Pinsonnault determined that, in light of State Immunity Act provisions, the seizure of AAI’s assets “should not have been heard on an ex-parte basis without prior notice being properly served […] and without determining beforehand on the merits the State Immunity status”.

A senior aviation ministry official told Business Today TV the government would study the judgement and decide on the next step concerning Air India.

The case relates to a longstanding dispute between India's Devas Multimedia Private Limited and the Indian state over a scuppered deal in 2011 between Devas Multimedia and Antrix Corp, a state-owned Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) unit, over the lease of satellite transponders. The petitions against Air India and the AAI were filed by three Mauritius-based shareholders of Devas: Devas (Mauritius) Ltd, Telcom Devas Mauritius Ltd, and Devas Employees Mauritius Pvt. Ltd.