New Delhi: The award of a contract for a new airport in Goa, where the current airport is woefully short of capacity, has been delayed after some bidders sought more time.

Five bidders—GMR Infrastructure Ltd, GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd, Airports Authority of India, Essel Infra and Hiranandani Group’s Voluptas Developers—were to submit financial bids for the 3,000 crore project by Monday.

Some of the bidders represent consortia.

The Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, which was expected to bid with Zurich Airports, has now told the Goa government that it wants more time.

Incheon International Airport Corp. has replaced Zurich Airports in the consortium, said Suresh Shanbhogue, director at the Directorate of Civil Aviation, government of Goa.

The new deadline for the bids is 26 August.

Emails sent to Essel seeking comments remained unanswered.

The contract will also be awarded on 26 August to the highest bidder, who will have six months to raise finances for the project.

Once this is done, the land will be handed over by the state government and work will begin.

The airport is expected to be operational by about 2020.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for the new airport in September, Suresh Shanbhogue said.

The existing Goa airport is operated by the Indian Navy and has reached its capacity of about 5 million passengers annually.

Airlines complain of not getting commercially viable slots at the current airport.

Consulting firm CAPA said Indian aviation faces an airport capacity crisis.

“Several non-metro airports in key centres, for example Goa, Jammu, Pune, Srinagar and Vizag operate as civil enclaves within defence facilities which places restrictions on their operations. This does not provide an environment that is conducive to growth," the consulting firm said, adding: “The economic repercussions of an airport capacity crunch would be devastating and unthinkable but this scenario is a real possibility. Tourists and business travellers would have to be turned away.

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