A total of 10 entities have submitted bids for six AAI-owned airports for privatisation. Among the bidders, GMR Airports and Adani Enterprise are offering to operate all the six aerodromes.
Others bidders are Autostrade from Italy, AMP Capital Investors (UK), Mauritius-based I Investments, Cochin International Airport (CIAL), Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), PNC Infrastructure and Sanna Enterprises.
Six airports — Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangalore, Guwahati and Trivandrum — were put on the block by state-owned Airports Authority of India on December 14, 2018. The bidder quoting the highest per-passenger fee for domestic travellers will be awarded the rights to operate, manage and develop the six non-metro airports.
The winning bids will be announced on February 28.
Experts believe that liberal bid conditions have generated this interest.
“This is a positive response from bidders considering what happened in Mopa (Goa) and Navi Mumbai airports where there was not much interest,” Satyan Nayar, secretary general, Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) said while adding that more bidders would have applied if the tender schedule was relaxed.
While the GMR operates Delhi and Hyderabad airports, Adani Enterprise has been vying to enter the airport sector for some time now.
Fairfax India, which operates Bengaluru airport, and GVK, which handles Mumbai, did not sumbit a bid. All these airports are profit making facilities for the AAI and handle between 2.27 to 9.17 million passengers annually.
The government had privatised operations for Delhi and Mumbai on revenue sharing basis with AAI holding coming down to 26% stake. Under the current round of privatisation, the airports will be leased out for a period 50 years instead of 30 years in the last round. This will be the second round of airport privatisation in the country after Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru aerodromes were opened for private investment 12 years ago. Other AAI joint venture airports are Cochin, Nagpur and Kannur.
According to aviation consultancy firm CAPA India, investment to the tune of $45 billion will be required for airport expansion and construction in India by 2030, to keep pace with the projected passenger traffic growth.
AAI presently operates 126 airports and civil enclaves across the country.