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Adani enters airport sector with aggressive bidding, bags 5 airports out of 6

PW Bureau 

The Airports Authority of India had put the airports on sale and had invited bids from private players in December to operate, fund and develop six airports for 50 years New Delhi: With intentions to expand the business beyond mining and renewable energy, Adani Enterprises Ltd has bagged five out of six bids to operate airports in the country. Adani secured bids to run airports in the cities of Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Mangalore and Trivandrum, a source said. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) had put the airports on sale and had invited bids from private players in December to operate, fund and develop six airports for 50 years. The bids closed on February 14.

Aggressive bidding from Adani

The Gautam Adani-led group outbid the GMR group for the Ahmedabad airport by quoting Rs 177 per passenger against GMR’s Rs 85. Adani bid Rs 171 per passenger for the Lucknow airport, overcoming AMP capital’s quote of Rs 139. “Adani group is the highest bidder for five airports. Since financial criteria were the only eligibility, the group will be awarded the airports as soon as formalities are cleared. After the award of bids, Adanis can take control of the airport,” said a senior AAI official. The winner for the Guwahati airport is expected to be announced on Tuesday, sources added.

New era of airport competition

The airport sector has been dominated by two companies GMR and GVK group. However, experts say the entry of Adani will breathe new life into the sector. The government had permitted companies without any prior experience in the sector to bid for the projects in a move aimed to break the duopoly. “Hitherto Airports sector in India was predominantly dominated by a couple of players, an entry of a private player with deep pockets to manage these operational assets augurs well for the sector and in the days ahead, we should see good competition amongst the players,” said Jagannarayan Padmanabhan, Director and Practice lead, transport and logistics, at CRISIL.