The Adani Group has received a three-month extension from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the takeover of Jaipur, Guwahati, and Trivandrum airports, sources told CNBC-TV18.
In June 2021, the group wrote to AAI to invoke a force majeure clause, citing roadblocks caused due to the second wave of COVID-19, and requested it to postpone the takeover of the three airports by six months.
AAI had signed the three concession agreements in January 2021 for operations, management, and development of Guwahati, Jaipur, and Trivandrum airports through the public-private partnership mode with the concessionaires, i.e., Adani Guwahati International Airport Ltd, Adani Jaipur International Airport Ltd, and Adani Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Ltd.
"The concessionaires are required to take up the Guwahati, Jaipur, and Trivandrum airports fulfilling certain conditions precedents within 180 days from January 19, 2021, and will operate, manage and develop the airports for next 50 years, in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the Concession Agreements,” AAI had said in January.
As a result of the three-month extension, the group will now be required to complete the takeover by October.
While the takeover of Mumbai airport was smoother as it has retained the airport employees and the airport is well-maintained, the takeover of AAI airports will entail a complete overhaul of the workforce, multiple processes from AAI to Adani Group, and substantial improvement in infrastructure, logistical issues amidst COVID pandemic, sources said.
The Adani Group took over Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) from the GVK Group on July 13 and thereby, also controls Navi Mumbai airport. It had taken over Mangalore, Lucknow, and Ahmedabad airports at the end of 2020.
"Out of these, the license for Ahmedabad has already been issued under Adani Group's name and the rest are under process," sources said.
With eight airports in its management and development portfolio, Adani Airport Holdings Ltd is now India's largest airport infrastructure company, accounting for 25 percent of airport footfall. With the addition of Mumbai airport, Adani Airport will now also control 33 percent of India's air cargo traffic.
AAHL will begin the construction of the Navi Mumbai International Airport next month and complete the financial closure in the next 90 days and the airport will be commissioned in 2024, Adani Group had said in a statement on July 13.