Over 100 employees of Airport Authority of India (AAI) protested on Wednesday against the privatisation of airports and said the action would turn airports into sick units. Although there has been no official information, the employees said that they fear such a move.

“What is the need to privatise an airport that was awarded ‘Mini Ratna’ and best cargo complex status? After the expansion, Chennai airport is one of the best airports in the world. Now, complaints emerge that AAI delayed the process; this is unfair as there are different rules for government and private sector,” said L. George, Regional Secretary (Metro) of Airports Authority Employees’ Union (AAEU). After the privatisation of New Delhi and Mumbai airports, the government assured that there will be only modernisation of other airports and not privatisation; now we suspect Chennai will also become a victim very soon, he said.

In New Delhi and Mumbai, passengers now are charged Rs.300 extra for domestic flights and Rs. 1300 extra for international ones respectively, he added.

“We will lose our job security if the airport here is privatised in Chennai. In For instance, take the case of New Delhi and Mumbai, after the privatisation of the airports, there; the workers are on the streets. We can’t allow this to happen here,” said G.N. Venkataraman, Joint General Secretary (All India) of AAEU.

The union plans to meet the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and seek her help.

Airport Director H.S. Suresh said that no one would lose their job even if the privatisation happens someday. But there has been no intimation from the Civil Aviation Ministry regarding the same, he said.

The protest did not affect the flight services today, he added.

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