The Airports Authority of India is likely to invite bids for privatisation of six more airports by August-September, people aware of the development told CNBC-TV18.
The second phase of privatisation is expected to include the airports of Varanasi, Amritsar, Bhubaneswar, Trichy, Raipur and Indore, the people added.
As per the April 2019 – March 2020 air traffic data of the Airports Authority of India, the six airports handled 15,791,443 passengers. This translates into 4.6 percent of the total air traffic handled at all airports of the country during the financial year ended March 31, 2020.
While the airports of Varanasi, Amritsar, Indore, Bhubaneswar and Trichy operate international flights, Raipur airport currently handles only domestic flight operations.
Notably, the Airports Authority of India initiated the first phase of airport privatisation with six airports of Jaipur, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Mangalore and Lucknow in November 2018 and the highest bidder was announced in February 2019.
The concession agreement was signed with the Adani Group, the union cabinet-approved highest bidder, for Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Mangalore in February 2020 but the cabinet is yet to approve the highest bidder for the remaining three airports.
For the second round of privatisation, the government is planning to invite preliminary bids by August-September and complete the entire process by early next year, sources said.
With a single party emerging as the highest bidder for all six airports in the first phase, the government is still assessing whether to limit the number of bids per player or invite bids without any cap, sources added.
CNBC-TV18 had exclusively reported in December 2019 that the civil aviation ministry was mulling some changes in the regulatory norms for the next round of airport privatisation by keeping a limit on the number of airports a participant can bid for; and bidders might be asked to bid for a maximum of two airports in the next round of airport privatisation.
First Published: IST