Home / News / India /  Privatization of 6-10 airports to begin from April

NEW DELHI : The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will begin the third stage of the airport privatization process for 6-10 airports in April, civil aviation secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said on Thursday.

The government will use a new approach for privatizing airports, clubbing a profitable airport with a loss-making airport for the sale process, Kharola said. “AAI is examining the feasibility of giving a non-profitable airport and a profit-making airport as a package. We could see six to 10 airports being taken up," he said.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech that the government will privatize airports operated by AAI from tier II and III cities during 2021-22.

AAI is raising 2,100 crore from banks for its capital expenditure requirements in 2021-22, its acting chairman Anuj Agarwal said.

AAI has already approved Adani Group’s proposal to take over the Mumbai airport, Agarwal said.

In September 2020, the Gautam Adani-led conglomerate had entered into a definitive pact to buy the debt of GVK Airport Developers Ltd, against which a 50.5% stake in Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) had been pledged. The Adani Group had said it will also buy the combined 23.5% stake held by Airport Co. of South Africa and South Africa’s Bidvest group in MIAL.

The divestment process of Air India is also on track, Kharola said. “The transaction adviser has received the expressions of interest from bidders. The transaction adviser will now seek financial bids from the qualified bidders," he said.

The tax incentives for aircraft lessors to set up shop at Gujarat’s Gift city will help Indian airlines to save foreign exchange costs while leasing aircraft, Kharola said.

The price cap on non-domestic flight tickets will not be a permanent feature, he said, adding that once the number of flyers increase to pre-covid levels, it will be done away with. When domestic flights restarted on 25 May after two months, the government had introduced fare bands to make it affordable for flyers.The fare band is in place till 31 March.

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