Airport privatisation: Cabinet nod to Adani takeover likely by July

New Delhi: Adani Enterprises, which had recently bagged six Indian airports, is expected to get an approval from the new Cabinet next month for taking over the airports formally, aviation ministry officials have said. “The award of projects happened during the end of the first term of the government,” said one of the persons cited above. “The Cabinet did not take up the matter for approval as the government had completed its tenure then and the ministry’s note was not accepted by the Cabinet Secretariat. We will again be sending the note and expect it to be cleared by July-end,” they said.

Transfer of assets will start after Cabinet nod

The transfer of these assets to Adani Enterprises will start after the Cabinet gives its nod. Employees at these airports, currently being run by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), will have the option of either joining Adani Enterprises or continue working with the public sector undertaking (PSU). Adani was awarded the lease to upgrade and operate airports in Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore for 50 years in auctions held late last year.

Earnings will be used to develop airports

AAI is expecting to earn about Rs 1,300 crores annually from the six airports, the Economic Times had reported. Earnings from the airport will be used to develop interior airports. “The privatisation of these six airports, while freeing us from managing these, will give us considerable revenues, which we can put into the development of smaller airports in the country, which would not get any interest from private parties,” AAI Chairman and Managing Director GP Mohapatra said. “The development of these smaller airports will be instrumental in giving a push to India’s aviation growth.”

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The backdrop

The proposal for privatisation of six airports had been cleared by the government in November last year. The privatisation drive was taken up after a gap of 13 years. GMR Group and GVK Group were given the rights to manage Delhi and Mumbai airports in 2006. Greenfield airports like those in Hyderabad and Bengaluru were also awarded at the same time.

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