‘Process underway’; 50-year lease plan for 11 more airports!

India continues to be the fastest growing aviation market in the world. Domestic air travel hit a fresh high on Monday, December 5, when the number of domestic passengers peaked 4,13,716. Civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia is very bullish on the country’s aviation sector. Hopes that India’s air passenger number will touch about 40 crore a year in the next five years.

The list of airports identified to be given to private players include Chennai, Kolkata, Jabalpur, Indore, Rajkot, Vijaywada, Raipur and Amritsar. The Centre will soon float tenders to lease out 11 airports of Airport Authority of India (AAI) to private companies. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the aim is to gain cash flow, which will then be reinvested in more airports in tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

According to Scindia, the AAI anticipates receiving an upfront payment of more over Rs 8,000 crore for leasing these airports. The minister also stated that as of 2014, there were just 74 airports, including with waterdromes. The highest charge per passenger will be used to determine the winning bid formula. Through the asset monetisation of these airports, the Centre hopes to collect Rs 20,000 Cr. The government leased six airports in 2019—Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Jaipur, Guwahati, and Thiruvananthapuram—and industrialist Gautam Adani’s Adani Group won the bidding for all six airports.

The minister also discussed SpiceJet’s recent spate of safety-related concerns and the airline’s rebuttal, which implied that security and safety come first. We have taken several steps to ensure safety, and the DGCA has given this issue a lot of attention, he told ET. As part of the yearly surveillance strategy in 2021–2022, we conducted around 2,740 inspections (ASP). In 2022–2023, it was increased to 3,700. In comparison to what was actually done in 2021–2022, the planned ASP has almost doubled, the minister noted.


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