AAI to approach govt to raise 5,000 cr through bonds

AAI to approach govt to raise 5,000 cr through bonds

New Delhi: The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which runs 125 airports across the country, would approach the government to allow it to raise 5,000 crore through infrastructure bonds, its top official said on Monday.

“We will again approach the government to allow us to issue infrastructure bonds for the next phase of development of 15 airports during the 12th Plan period," AAI chairman V P Agrawal told reporters here.

AAI’s plea to raise a similar amount through tax-free infrastructure bonds in 2009 to develop 35 non-metro airports was rejected by the government then. The modernization and upgradation work on many of these airports has already been completed.

Replying to questions on the sidelines of a seminar on the Indian aviation sector organized by Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, he said these bonds could be tax-free but the government would have to take a decision on the entire issue.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had announced in the 2011-12 general budget that government would allow issuance of tax-free infrastructure bonds worth 30,000 crore by various bodies in the current financial year.

The 15 airports which are to be developed in the next phase would be those non-metro airports “which can be revived and where there is a big traffic potential" that can be developed by the airlines over a few years, he had said.

Agrawal said the AAI would also unlock about 1,100 crore of its “locked money" to finance the upcoming airport development projects.

While the modernization of Chennai airport would be completed by this year-end, that of Kolkata airport would end by March next year, he said.