Bid to privatise ground handling delayed

Concerns over high royalties quoted by bidders for ground handling services at 76 airports owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) have delayed the announcement of the outcome of the bidding process.

Several ground handling agencies, including Celebi, Bhadra and the Bird Group, had earlier voiced concerns over royalties as high as 227% being quoted by certain bidders when the AAI opened the bids for the airports in December last year.

In-depth examination

The AAI has now sought a deeper examination of the high royalties as well as the business model of the highest bidders, it is reliably learnt.

“We are examining the bids,” a senior AAI official said on the condition of anonymity.

Matching bids

“The AAI asked players to match the bids when after the bids were opened in December and after that, we are yet to hear from them,” said a ground handling agency on the condition of anonymity.

The AAI floated tenders for 76 of its airports in different batches, starting May 2018.

The re-tendering of ground handling services at the airports became necessary after the Ministry of Civil Aviation released its regulations on ground handling in 2016 and barred manpower agencies from providing these services, while allowing the airlines to self-handle.

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