LOA for Thiruvananthapuram airport issued to Adani Group

AAI move based on Union Cabinet decision to lease facility

September 11, 2020 11:26 pm | Updated 11:28 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

The Centre has made clear its intention to go ahead with the handing over of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport to Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) of the Adani Group, which won the bid to manage and operate the airport for 50 years, by issuing letter of award (LOA) to the group.

The LOA was issued by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) based on the August 19 Union Cabinet decision to hand over the 88-year-old airport to the AEL along with the other AAI-managed airports of Guwahati and Jaipur.

The LOA was issued even as the State had stepped up pressure to retain the airport in the public sector and an MPs’ meeting deciding to take up the issue in Parliament.

A petition by the State government, the Airports Authority of India Employees Union Thiruvananthapuram unit, two passengers, AAI employees union of Kozhikode airport, and an action council headed by CPI(M) leader M. Vijayakumar challenging the privatisation of the airport is pending in the High Court. It is scheduled to come up for hearing on September 15.

Votaries of airport privatisation under Awake Trivandrum, an umbrella body of 25 organisations, have also approached the High Court seeking award of the airport to the Adani Group.

Confirming the handing over of the LOA, official sources said Adani Trivandrum International Airport Ltd. (ATIAL), floated by the Adani Group to run the airport, would get control of the airport only after a concession agreement was executed and the performance bank guarantee was paid and subject to clearance of legal hurdles.

The ATIAL has been given two to three months to ink the pact with the AAI. Air traffic communication and air navigation services will remain with the AAI in the lease period.

The next step of the LDF government to retain the airport in the public sector and run it on the lines of CIAL and KIAL is awaited. The government had floated Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Ltd to support the claim and take over the airport.

The State will have to sign a State Support Agreement to hand over the airport to the AEL and the stance of the State in signing the agreement is crucial.

The government is likely to back out from the acquisition of eight ha needed from the Vallakkadavu-Vayyamoola area for the proposed ₹600-crore integrated terminal on the city side.

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