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File photo: An airport official said fuel supply issue was the reason for the delay Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/ XPRESS

Kochi: The stoppage of fuel supply by oil marketing companies to Air India due to non-payment of dues delayed the take-off of a Dubai-bound Air-India Dreamliner from the Cochin international airport here by nearly four hours on Monday.

The flight with about 300 passengers left for Dubai at around 1 pm instead of at 9.15 am.

An airport official said fuel supply issue was the reason for the delay.

Pathanamthitta Congress MP Anto Antony said he took up the matter with Minister of state for Civil Aviation (independent charge) Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan after some passengers complained about the delay.

"The issue was resolved after the Civil Aviation Minister spoke to Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. The flight took off at 1.09 pm," the MP told PTI.

Oil marketing companies (OMCs) have stopped the supply of fuel to Air India at six airports, including Cochin, from Thursday due to non-payment of dues by the carrier.

Other airports where the fuel supply had been stopped are Visakhapatnam, Mohali, Ranchi, Pune and Patna.

An Air India spokesperson had said on Thursday that "in the absence of equity support Air India cannot handle the huge debt service liabilities."

"Our financial performance this fiscal, however, is very good and we are moving towards a healthy operating profit. The airline despite its legacy issues is performing very well," he had said. PTI