Home >Politics >Policy >Airports privatization bidding deadline extended due to ‘HR issues’

New Delhi: The central government extended the bidding deadline by private firms for management, operation and development of four AAI-run airports due to HR-related and other issues, a top official said on Monday.

“There are many issues. There are issues relating to human resources. A concerted decision has to be taken (on such issues). Whatever are the concerns of the employees, they have to be addressed," Airports Authority of India chairman R.K. Srivastava told reporters.

He said the service conditions of employees should not be “compromised with" and that the AAI was trying to fast track the privatization process. “We have to now formulate the request for proposal," he said, adding, “We are ensuring that all timelines are met."

The AAI, which had invited request for qualification (RFQ) to handover the management, operations and development of Kolkata, Chennai, Jaipur and Ahmedabad Airports last year, had last week extended the RFQ submission date from 24 March to 26 May.

It had, however, not given any reason for pushing the deadline at that time. The AAI employees union, however, are opposing privatisation of government-run airports on the ground that the move would lead to a further dip in AAI revenue besides massive retrenchment of the manpower. The union had given a strike call on 11 March to protest the move, which it deferred till further notice following the intervention from the chief labour commissioner.

The CLC has fixed 30 March as the next date of meeting between the union and the management. The government is now contemplating to incorporate a 100% manpower absorption clause for the bidders to pacify the union on the issue. In the earlier OMDA (operations, management and development agreement) with the GMR and GVK group, who now operate Delhi and Mumbai airports, the provision was for 60% absorption of AAI manpower by private operators. Corporates including Tata and Adani groups and existing airport operators GMR and GVK groups besides some foreign players have shown interest in the these airports following the RFQ.

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