Govt approves leasing out Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram airports

by National | 19-08-2020 | 2094 views

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the proposal for leasing out Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur and Guwahati airports. After the Cabinet meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javdekar announced in the press conference that that three airports of Airports Authority of India (AAI) will be leased through Public-Private Partnership.

Note that in the first round of privatisation under the Modi government, the airports in Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati were cleared for operation, management and development through public-private partnership (PPP) model in February last year.

In a webinar yesterday, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, "We are going to the Cabinet tomorrow for further airport privatisation. We have got many more airports lined up, dozens of them, and the 100 new airports we will build between now and 2030."

It is worth mentioning here is that AAI, which works under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, owns and manages over 100 airports across the country. In 2018, the government decided to privatise the airports in several cities including Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati.

Adani Enterprises had won the rights to run six airports including Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati after a competitive bidding process in February 2019. Last year in September, AAI had recommended the Civil Aviation Ministry to privatise airports in Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy.

The government had leased out the Airports Authority of India's airports at Delhi and Mumbai on Public-Private Partnership for Operation, Management and Development about a decade ago.

While the PPP experiments have helped create world-class airports and helped in the delivery of efficient and quality services to the airport passengers, it has also helped AAI in enhancing its revenues and focusing on developing airports and Air Navigation infrastructure in the rest of the country. 

Revenue received by AAI from PPP partners enabled AAI to create infrastructure facilities in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and also to upgrade their airports to international standards. The PPP airports in India are consistently ranked among the top 5 in their respective categories by the Airports Council International (ACI) in terms of Airport Service Quality (ASQ).

Therefore, the government decided to lease out more airports of AAI for Operation, Management and Development under PPP through Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC). The government also constituted an Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) to decide on any issue falling beyond the scope of PPPAC.

PPPAC approved the transaction documents. The entire bidding process was carried out under the supervision and directions of EGoS which comprised of representatives of NITI Aayog, Department of Expenditure and Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) of Ministry of Finance (MoF).

Airports Authority of India released Request for Proposal in 2018 through global competitive bidding wherein per passenger fee is the bidding parameter. The technical bids were opened on in February last year and the financial bids of the qualified bidders were opened. Adani Enterprises Ltd. won all the bids by quoting highest per passenger fee for all the three airports i.e. Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram.

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