Project Air Kerala will be pursued if conditions are changed, says Chandy

Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has decided, as part of its efforts to expand business, to enter the fray for airport operations when they come up for privatisation.

CIAL chairman and managing director V. J. Kurien has been entrusted with the task of preparing the ground for CIAL to compete for bagging airport operations elsewhere in the country.

A statement issued by the Public Relations Department here said the 19th annual general meeting of shareholders on Friday deferred its plans for a rights issue. It would take into consideration the opinion of all shareholders before taking a decision.

An earlier decision by the CIAL to issue shares at 1:1 ratio to minority shareholders came under fire from public sector shareholders of the airport operator. Bharat Petroleum Corporation, Housing and Urban Development Corporation and Air India are among the public sector shareholders in CIAL.

Under these circumstances, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy assured the gathering that the issue would be discussed in detail with all stakeholders before a consensus was reached. He said the government’s decision was to help the minority shareholders and there would be no going back on this. However, the issue will be discussed before a decision was taken. An all-party meeting will be convened to reach a consensus.

Mr. Chandy said the project Air Kerala would be pursued if the present conditions on launching an aviation company were changed.

The CIAL notched up an income of Rs. 306.50 crore during the last financial year and a net profit of Rs. 111.41 crore.

As part of the company’s efforts to achieve self-reliance in electricity supply, the company is expected to commission a 1 mw solar unit next month. More projects to generate power from wind and the sun will be taken up. The company will also complete distribution of benefits to all families affected by the airport project. The press release said 55 more families were to receive the benefits and they would get them within a year.

Work on the road from Athani Junction on National Highway 47 to the airport would be completed by 2014, the press release added. The company has also decided to pay a dividend of 17 per cent.

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