New Delhi: The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) is looking to get a nod from the Union Cabinet by December for the privatisation of six more AAI (Airports Authority of India) airports, sources aware of the development said on Monday. The second phase of the government’s privatisation drive will see Varanasi, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Trichy, Indore and Raipur airports of AAI being put up for sale to the private sector. This is the second time that the government is putting up AAI airports for privatisation since the BJP came to power in 2014. In the first phase, Lucknow, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangaluru and Ahmedabad were privatised. Prior to this, it was in 2006 that the UPA government had privatised Delhi and Mumbai airports.
Privatisation of 6 more AAI airports by March
The source said that the ministry of civil aviation is looking to get an “in-principle” approval from the Union Cabinet by the first week of December. “Once that’s in place, we can go for bids. The aim is to wrap up the bidding process by March,” the source said. The privatisation plan has already received an approval from the AAI board. The move is expected to bump AAI’s profits from the current Rs 220-250 crore to Rs 900-1,100 crores.
The move is being met with stiff opposition from the employee unions at AAI, who have contested the sagacity of the government’s decision to privatise profit-making airports. All the six airports that were put up for sale by the BJP government in phase I were handed opver to Adani Group. While speaking at an event, Usha Padhee, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, had said at an event that the government will continue with privatisation in the aviation sector and more airports will be privatised soon.
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