13 Airports To Be Privatized, Govt Sends List To Aviation Ministry

13 Airports To Be Privatized, Govt Sends List To Aviation Ministry

The central government on Wednesday sent a list of 13 airports to the aviation ministry which it wants to privatize. The government plans to complete the process of privatization of these airports by March from state owned Airports Authority of India (AAI).

AAI chairman Sanjeev Kumar told ET that a list of 13 airports has been sent to the aviation ministry which are to be bid on public-private partnership. He added that the plans are to complete the process by end of the fiscal year.

He also said that the model to be followed for bidding would be the per-passenger revenue model, which has been found to be successful in earlier bidding processes, citing the example of Jewar airport in Greater Noida.

There will be no shortage of bidders according to him, even in times of Covid-19 as the effects of the pandemic are short term whereas the airports are on offer for 50 years, he said.

Meanwhile, the AAI has plans to group seven small airports with six big ones-Varanasi with Kushinagar and Gaya, Amritsar with Kangra, Bhubaneswar with Tirupati, Raipur with Aurangabad, Indore with Jabalpur and Trichy with Hubli.

The government has plans to liberalize the sector by privatizing the profit making airports. It also plans to award 25 new airports in addition to the 13 in the next four years, similar to the 6 airports it awarded to the Adani Group in 2019. AAI's orders will be expanded to build new airports in areas where private sectors do not want to venture with the profits earned through the revenue shared from the privatized airports.

In light of the pandemic, the AAI's earnings took a massive hit, forcing it to borrow 1,500 crore from the State Bank of India in order to meet working capital needs. AAI posted record loss of 1,962 crores in FY21. With the situation improving, AAI will not have to borrow this year, according to Mr. Kumar.

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