An Air India (AI, Mumbai Int'l) jet has been grounded at Vadodara airport since late last year as a Goods and Services Tax (GST) overhang has prevented the debt-ridden carrier from importing a spare engine from Delhi Int'l, The Times of India has reported.

According to Indian law, shipments exceeding INR50,000 (USD700) in value require an e-way bill, which can only be issued to firms without tax debts. Air India's GST backlog is said to stand at around INR1 billion rupees (USD14 million).

Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows A320-200 VT-EDF (msn 4237) was grounded at Vadodara airport after a scheduled flight from Delhi on December 31, 2019. It remained at the Gujarati airport until January 19, 2020, when it was ferried back to Delhi. However, the day before, on January 18, 2020, Air India had ferried A319-100 VT-SCH (msn 3288) to Vadodara under a non-scheduled flight number. The A319 has remained grounded at the airport ever since.

The airline said it hoped to clear its GST dues, as well as pay overdue salaries for December, shortly.

Meanwhile, the government, which has pledged to keep Air India funded until it is privatised, has moved to alleviate staff concerns about the state's planned divestment. First Post said that during a meeting on January 20, Civil Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola told the airline to set up an internal committee where board members and staff representatives would be able to discuss matters related to the privatisation.

The ministry reportedly plans to include the obligation to pay all salary arrears in the forthcoming call for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from prospective investors.