GET LIVE MARKET QUOTES & NEWS
Download App
HomeNewsBusiness

Government looking to invite bids for privatisation of six new airports from October if air traffic continues to rise

Aug 16, 2021 / 04:01 PM IST

Bhubaneswar, Varanasi, Amritsar, Raipur, Indore and Trichy the airports. The govt is also looking to hand over control of the Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports to the Adani Group by October, thus completing the last of airport privatisation.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in her budget speech, said that the government will privatise airports operated by AAI from Tier II and III cities during 2021-22

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will begin the third stage of airport privatisation from October, if the third wave of COVID-19 turns out to be milder than the second wave and air passenger traffic continues rising, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) sources told Moneycontrol.

The AAI had selected six airports -- Bhubaneswar, Varanasi, Amritsar, Raipur, Indore and Trichy -- for the next round of privatisation, officials said.

The government plans to bundle the Jharsuguda airport with Bhubaneswar in Odisha, Kushinagar and Gaya airports with Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Kangra airport with Amritsar in Punjab, Jalgaon airport with Raipur in Chhattisgarh, Jabalpur airport with Indore in Madhya Pradesh, and Salem airport with Trichy in Tamil Nadu, before offering it to prospective bidders

Clubbing of airports

COVID-19 Vaccine
Frequently Asked Questions

View more

How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
View more
+ Show

As part of its third round of inviting bids for airport privatisation, the AAI is looking at a new model where a profitable airport and a non-profitable airport will be clubbed before being put on the block.

The MoCA was earlier looking to start the next round of airport privatisation in April, but those plans were delayed due to the outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 by the end of March.

“Air passenger traffic is likely to reach around 80 percent of the pre-COVID levels by October, if there is no new wave of COVID-19 or if the third wave is milder. We are hoping to invite bids for the new airports by October," the official said.

The government is also looking to hand over control of the Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports to the Adani Group by October, thus completing the last of airport privatisation.

A query sent to AAI is yet to elicit a response.

Interest rising for privatisation of more airports

Furthermore, the ministry has also received interest for the privatisation of more airports under the privatisation programme.

“We have received interest for the privatisation of many more airports, including Darbhanga in Bihar, and Puducherry," the official said, adding that the government is currently looking at ways to increase the attractiveness of these airports.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had, in her budget speech, said that the government will privatise airports operated by AAI from Tier II and III cities during 2021-22.

How they fared

In the year ended March 31, 2021, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Indore, Varanasi, Raipur and Trichy reported losses of Rs 13.34 crore, Rs 87.42 crore, Rs 23.86 crore, Rs 51.63 crore, Rs 40.5 crore and Rs 27.32 crore, respectively, due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

However in 2019-20, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Indore and Trichy had reported profits of Rs 34.22 crore, Rs 92 lakh, Rs 4.47 crore and Rs 22.85 crore, respectively.

While Varanasi and Raipur reported losses of Rs 1.6 crore and Rs 26.65 crore, respectively, the losses were much lower, compared to the losses incurred in 2020-21.

Similarly, airports in Jharsuguda, Gaya, Kangra, Jalgaon, Jabalpur and Salem reported net losses of Rs 15.39 crore, Rs 24.56 crore, Rs 8.63 crore, Rs 5.37 crore, Rs 23.1 crore and Rs 3.21 crore, respectively.In 2019-20, these airports had reported losses of Rs 16.29 crore, Rs 24.68 crore, Rs 9.72 crore, Rs 3.72 crore, Rs 19.24 crore and Rs 8.76 crore, respectively.

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, regional routes and airports were reporting faster growth in passenger traffic, compared to established routes.

A look at the air passenger traffic data from 2018-19 and 2019-20 (pre-COVID-19) shows that regional routes from Ranchi, Surat, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar and Varanasi have grown much faster than established routes from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru.

Yaruqhullah Khan
first published: Aug 16, 2021 04:01 pm
next story