The government is considering a new model for development of airports wherein Airports Authority of India (AAI) retains the complete ownership of an airport but privatises most of the services, a senior civil aviation ministry official said. AAI currently owns and runs majority of the airports in the country. But the state-owned entity is a minority equity partner with private companies in Delhi and Mumbai international airports.
“In our country, development of airports will be a mixture. Everything to be privatised will be a wrong thing, everything to be nationalised will also be a wrong thing. Public sector has a place, private sector has a place. Now there are other variations also which the government is thinking. Is it not possible for the Airports Authority of India to own a place and privatise services, and having a revenue share? We are working on such a model,” the official said.
The National Civil Aviation Policy, 2016, unveiled last month had mentioned the possibility of the AAI giving out operations and maintenance for a cluster of existing or new airports. Out of 125 airports of AAI, about 95 are operational of which 71 have scheduled commercial operations. Delhi and Mumbai airports, which are majority owned by private companies GMR and GVK, respectively, and in which AAI is an equity partner, are currently a major source of revenues for the state-owned entity. AAI owns 26 per cent stake each in Delhi International Airport Ltd and Mumbai International Airport Ltd.
The new development model being considered will ensure that the AAI remains the sole or majority owner of the airport to be modernised with most services being outsourced to private firms. The aviation ministry is planning to revive 50 non-operational airports of AAI in the next 3 years at an indicative cost of Rs 50-100 crore each. Sources said the new model may be tried at some of these 50 airports which are being revived. Chris Conley Jersey