Delhi, Mumbai airports get privatisation signal

Nina Mehta

New Delhi, September 11
The Government on Thursday gave in-principle approval for modernising the Delhi and Mumbai airports through the privatisation route.

It has decided to offload 74 per cent stake to either a private joint venture partner or a consortia. The remaining 26 per cent will remain with the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The two airports, which have a combined profit before tax of Rs 270 crore, will be managed by the joint venture for a period of 30 years, extendable by another 30 subject to mutual agreement.

"To ensure that world class airports are available soon, the request for proposal will be completed in four months. After that, the bidders will be selected within eight months," said Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Singh Rudy.

The successful bidder will have a year to furnish a master plan which will be approved by the government.

The bidder should be an internationally reputed company and will have to get security clearance from the Home Ministry. Also, the same bidder cannot be a partner in both airports.

Details like the terms of employees, user charges levied by the management, financial parameters for the bidders and construction specifications will be decided by an empowered committee of the Cabinet. Ministers of finance, law, disinvestment and civil aviation will be the members of this group.

What might change

Airlines: With larger airports, airlines can get separate terminals. Also faster flight clearance

Passengers: They get more duty-free shops, hotels, cafes. Also, bars and multiplexes

Airport employees: AAI employees in Delhi, Mumbai will move to new company for 3 years. They may be absorbed by private firm or return to parent.

© Hindustan Times Ltd. 2003.