AAI’s privatisation plan has elicited interest from Switzerland to Singapore

Mumbai: International airport operators, of the likes of Flughafen Zurich AG and Changi Airports International which run Switzerland’s Zurich airport and the Changi of Singapore, respectively, are closely watching India’s plans for privatising six airports with a view to launching bids of their own, sources familiar with the matter said.

Besides these two operators, American financial investor Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), Sydney-based investment manager AMP Capital and German airport operator AviAlliance are other international names that have demonstrated interest, the source added on condition of anonymity. Indian entities like Reliance Infrastructure, Adani group and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, in addition to Indian airport operators GVK and GMR, might also launch bids, another source said. Six airports – Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram– that are currently run by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), could be up for offer. The last date for launching bids is February 14 while the letter of award will be issued on February 28.

Redevelopment of these airports could see investments worth $1.4 billion coming in, says Jagannarayan Padmanabhan of Crisil Infrastructure Advisory. “Based on interactions that we have had with interested parties, each of the six airports roughly needs a private investment of $200 million,” Padmanabhan said. “Individual airports will have lower or higher investment requirements, but I believe it will be in the range of $1.2-1.4 billion that will come into the airport sector.”

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