The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday approved a proposal to privatise six airports in India, including the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport, which is also known as Guwahati Airport.
Besides the LGBI Airport, the other AAI airports, which the Union Cabinet has decided to privatise, are Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Mengaluru and Thiruvanathapuram Airport.
According to reports, the proposal has been made to modernise the airports under the public-private partnership (PPP) model to meet international standards.
A report published on Friday by Business Today stated the government’s decision on privatising these airports comes 12 years after it privatised Delhi and Mumbai airports, which have emerged among the top airports globally.
It has also been reported that the latest initiative would help create world-class airports in the six cities and would boost the revenue of the Airport Authority of India (AAI). It is expected that economic development would also see a rise in these areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure.
According to reports, the airports would be privatised for the next 30 years, and the bidding process will be held on a revenue sharing model.
While the AAI could still hold a minority stake, the chosen private player could hold at least 75 per cent stake. The Delhi and Mumbai airports have been leased to GMR and GVK, which share 45.99 per cent and 38.7 per cent of their revenues with the AAI every year. The AAI has earned around Rs 1,000 crore as lease rentals from these companies so far.
An official tweet stated that the operation, management and development of all these aerodromes, owned by the AAI, would be done under PPP.
The report quoted Union Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu as saying: “Happy that the Cabinet has approved leasing out six of Airport Authority of India (AAI) airports viz Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram & Mangaluru. We are working on creating world-class infrastructure & are committed to improving passenger convenience.”
The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) will handle the privatisation project, and any issue that is beyond its scope would be dealt with by an empowered group of secretaries. The Empowered Group will be headed by NITI Aayog CEO and the secretaries from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Department of Economic Affairs, and Department of Expenditure.
The PPP model has also worked well for the AAI’s airports in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Cochin and Bengaluru, the report said.