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August 19, 2020

India plans to privatise additional airports

India has planned to privatise additional airports to increase its efforts to develop infrastructure.

India has planned to privatise additional airports to increase its efforts to develop infrastructure.

Quoting Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Livemint reported that a plan outlining the offer for the privatisation of additional airports would be presented to the Union cabinet on 19 August.

In a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) webinar, Puri said: “We are going to the cabinet tomorrow with further airport privatisation plan. We have got many more airports lined up – dozens of them.

“And the 100 more airports that we will build between now and 2030, I think, will all augur well (for the economy).”

In May, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that 12 airports in the country will be auctioned under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

LiveMint reported that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) selected Varanasi, Bhubaneshwar, Amritsar, Indore, Raipur and Trichi airports for the second phase of airport auctions.

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AAI manages more than 100 airports in the country.

However, airports in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad are managed by private companies and AAI holds stakes in the airports.

Puri added: “Everybody should put their heads together to ensure we do this in the correct, cost-effective and environmentally friendly way.”

The privatisation process is expected to increase the efficiency and revenues of the airports.

The ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the aviation sector. However, it is ‘expected to force the government to be more liberal with the rules it sets for private bidders in the next auction’, added the report.

India resumed domestic passenger flights on 25 May after all flights were suspended in March due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

It had been operating repatriation flights and established bilateral air bubbles with the US, UK, UAE, France, Germany, Qatar and Maldives.

Puri added that the country is in talks with 13 other countries, including Australia and Italy, to set up air bubbles.

In February, Sitharaman announced that 100 additional airports will be developed in the country by 2024.

Last July, the Indian Government approved a proposal to lease out three AAI airports under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

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