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The Adani Group has made several changes in key leadership positions at its airport holding company Adani Airport Holdings Ltd (AAHL) and Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) to consolidate and push through the transition of the country’s second-largest airport into its fold.

The Adani Group announced the changes on Sunday, days after it took over management control of MIAL from the GVK Group.

The group will relocate the head office of AAHL from Mumbai to Ahmedabad, it said. Adani Group also said R.K. Jain, the chief executive of MIAL, will take over as chief executive of Adani Airports, replacing incumbent Ben Zandi who will take over as chief executive, non-aero at AAHL.

“He (Jain) will be fully involved in shaping (a) scheme for airport slum rehabilitation to take it to (the) implementation stage. He will also be involved in the airport regulatory issues," Adani Group said.

The chief executive of MIAL and chief airport officers at Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Jaipur will report to Jain. Jain, in turn, will report to Malay Mahadevia, the chief executive officer of AAHL.

Meanwhile, Prakash Tulsiani, president, operations, at AAHL, will take over as chief executive of MIAL from Jain. B.V.J.K. Sharma, who is director of Adani Ports and SEZ, has been appointed as the chief executive of Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited (NMIAL).

Prabhat Mahapatra, who heads operations at MIAL, will assume the newly created role of head operations at the Center of Excellence.

Manoj Katar, the chief operating officer of Dahej port, was appointed in place of Mahapatra.

“We believe this decision will foster collaborative working and agile decision making, which is of paramount importance at this stage of our journey," Adani Group said.

AAHL became the country’s largest airport operator after picking up a controlling stake in MIAL, which operates the Mumbai airport, earlier this year. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai is the second-largest in the country in terms of passenger traffic.

Adani Group has also won competitive bids to operate airports at cities such as Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Mangaluru, and Thiruvananthapuram. The group, however, has deferred its plans to take over airport assets at Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram to December as these businesses look financially unfeasible to operate amid the covid-19 pandemic and would lead to additional cost burdens for the conglomerate.

The airports sector is likely to incur a net loss of 5,400 crore in financial year 2021 because of a sharp decline in passenger traffic following the coronavirus outbreak, according to a March report by rating agency ICRA Ltd. The report has also estimated a cash loss of 3,500 for the sector.

The airport sector is expected to bounce back to profitability in the current financial year, with the industry net profit expected to rise to 190 crore, said ICRA.

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