New Delhi, Sep 21 () : Airports in Chennai and Lucknow will be upgraded by private companies who operate on a BOT basis.
Rs 1200 crore is to be spent for modernization of the airport. In the present area, a new domestic terminal with parallel taxi track, re-carpeting of the main runway and modification of the international terminal building, connected to metro rail from the airport along with multi- level car parking and common user cargo terminal are to be built in Chennai.
As many as eleven companies, including the Sahara, GVK, Essel, VINCL, GVK, Fraport AG, Infrastructure Leasing & Finance Services (IL&FS), Tata Realty, Essar Infrastructure, Tata Projects, GMR Group and Reliance Group turned up for a conference held for bidders before giving out applications. Tata firms have taken the forms that lay out the terms.
Lucknow airport needs bidders to invest Rs 500 crore. October 25 is the last date when the qualified bidders will be made public. This privatization is the first phase of the six airports that are going under public-private partnership scheme. Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Guwahati are the other airports. Request for qualification documents were bought by Tata companies.
To meet the income for private firms, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority will fix a tariff for a period of five years that determines the passenger user fee and this will be linked to the wholesale price index for any increase. The fees will be decided much before the contract is signed.
Chennai is attracting many airlines as it is has less user fee for the carrier and passengers compared to other metros. Low-cost SpiceJet and AirAsia have made Chennai their hub for this reason.
The increase in fees would put many airlines to shift the hub to other airports. The airport staff unions have already raised concerns over the privatization as the private players would keep their staff for maintenance work.
Chennai’s recently opened international airport has come in for flak. Roofs crashing down, leaking toilets and battery operated tugs carrying luggage to airports from aircraft not able to navigate easily due to structural defects were the complaints.
The Minister of State for Aviation K C Venugopal along with AAI authorities visited the airport and ordered remedial steps but still at the slightest wind, the roofs come crashing down. Luckily there has been no casualty.