CIAL gets nod to take part in airport bidding

Effort to prevent airport from falling into private hands

In a bid to prevent the Thiruvananthapuram international airport from falling into the hands of private players, the State government has given Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) the nod for taking part in the competitive bidding for selecting the private player for the management, maintenance and future development of the airport.

CIAL which built and operates the country’s first greenfield airport in the public-private partnership mode has also been asked to participate in the bidding process for the private player for the Mangaluru airport.

The State government has 32% stake and ₹100 crore investment in CIAL.

A decision to rope in CIAL to prevent the privatisation of the premier airport now managed by the Airports Authority of India was taken at a director board meeting of CIAL chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The CIAL authorities, however, are tight-lipped on the roadmap.

The bidding process is being worked out by the Empowered Committee under NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitab Kant.

CIAL has been entrusted with the task considering the success and growth of the CIAL brand and its experience in managing the Nedumbassery airport.

Exemption sought

The State has been demanding that the Centre exempt the Thiruvananthapuram airport from the privatisation process or allow it to manage the airport through a special purpose vehicle or to grant Right of First refusal in the competitive bidding process.

The State government move comes in the wake of the Empowered Committee’s discussions with Chief Secretary Tom Jose on December 4 and the subsequent presentation by Mr. Jose and Principal Secretary, Transport, K.R. Jyothilal.

A group of Secretaries from the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Departments of Economic Affairs and Expenditure headed by Mr. Kant, a senior Kerala cadre IAS officer, will decide the contours of the sale.

The chosen private player will get 80% shares and the right to manage, operate and take care of the development of the airport for 50 years, sources said.

AAI stake

The AAI will hold a minor stake, just like it does at the Delhi and Mumbai airports.

The bidding will be held in a revenue-sharing model. A bidder with no prior experience in airport development can participate and this is turning to be a concern for the government.

While the net worth of the companies will be among the key criteria, bidders will have to absorb employees of the airports for at least five years.

This will come as a big relief to the employees of the AAI working in the international airport.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:19:25 AM |

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