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Adani Airport Holdings Ltd (AAHL), a wholly-owned unit of Adani Enterprises Ltd, on Tuesday took over the management control of Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) from the GVK Group.

This followed approvals from the Union government as well as the government of Maharashtra, and Maharashtra’s City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO).

“Our larger objective is to reinvent airports as ecosystems that drive local economic development and act as the nuclei around which we can catalyse aviation-linked businesses. These include metropolitan developments that span entertainment facilities, e-commerce and logistics capabilities, aviation dependent industries, smart city developments, and other innovative business concepts," said Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, in a statement.

“Our airport expansion strategy is intended to help converge our nation’s Tier 1 cities with the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in a hub and spoke model. This is fundamental to enabling a greater equalization of India’s urban–rural divide, as well as making international travel seamless and smooth," he added in the statement on Tuesday.

AAHL became the country’s largest airport operator after it took a controlling stake in MIAL earlier this year. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) In Mumbai is the second-busiest in the country after the Delhi airport.

AAHL expects its share of passenger traffic to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% from 80 million in FY20 to 100 million in FY22, according to the statement.

Adani Group has also won competitive bids to run the airports in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram. It, however, plans to defer the takeover of the airports in Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram by six months to December as these assets have currently turned financially unviable due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

According to a March report from rating agency Icra Ltd, the airport sector is likely to incur a net loss of 5,400 crore in the financial year ended 31 March 2021 due to a sharp drop in passenger traffic following the covid outbreak. The report has also estimated a cash loss of 3,500 for the sector.

Icra expects the airport sector to bounce back to profitability this financial year, with industry net profit expected to rise to 190 crore.

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