New Delhi: Five private airport operators, controlling 61% of the country’s passenger traffic, have joined hands to form a new association to lobby on common issues that they face as air traffic expands in the country.
The new industry lobby’s formation comes just ahead of a new airport regulator, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, or Aera, becoming fully functional next month. A domestic airline grouping, Federation of India Airlines, has been in existence since 2006.
The Association of Private Airport Operators, or Apao, has been registered under the Societies Registration Act and is in the process of appointing staff.
Joint effort: Delhi International Airport Ltd, which runs the Indira Gandhi International Airport, is one of the body’s five members. Madhu Kapparath / Mint
“The purpose of the association is to support the activities and bring synergies between private sector, the government and the airlines to grow the aeronautics industry in India,” said C.G. Krishnadas Nair, managing director of Cochin International Airport Ltd, or Cial, India’s first private sector airport.
Apao members include Delhi International Airport Ltd and GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, both controlled by GMR Infrastructure Ltd; GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd-run Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd, which makes for the country’s single largest airport with 22% of passenger traffic; Siemens Project Ventures GmbH-led Bangalore International Airport Ltd (6%) and Cial (3%). The GMR airports together account for 27% of passenger traffic in the country.
Until 2005, 97% of the passenger traffic in the country, excluding the privately held Kochi airport, was controlled by state-owned Airports Authority of India, or AAI, which now services 39% of the market after airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad made way for the new privately run airports there and the ones in New Delhi and Mumbai were privatized.
Part of aviation regulatory functions, such as setting tariffs, so far carried out by the civil aviation ministry and AAI is being shifted to Aera.