The Ministry of Civil Aviation will place a proposal for "further" privatisation of airports before the Union Cabinet on Wednesday, Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday. In the first round of privatisation under the Narendra Modi dispensation, the airports in Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati were cleared for operation, management and development through public-private partnership (PPP) model in February 2019.
Subsequently, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had in September 2019 recommended the Civil Aviation Ministry to privatise airports in Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy. Puri said during a webinar on Tuesday: "We are going to the Cabinet tomorrow for further airport privatisation. We have got many more airports lined up, dozens of them, and the 100 new airports we will build between now and 2030."
The AAI, which works under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, owns and manages more than 100 airports across the country. In 2018, the government decided to privatise the airports in Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati.
Adani Enterprises had won the rights to run these six airports after a competitive bidding process in February 2019. Adani Enterprises signed the concessionaire agreement with the AAI for three airports -- Ahmedabad, Mangaluru and Lucknow -- on February 14, 2020.
The aviation sector has been hit hard due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, India resumed domestic passenger flights on May 25, albeit in a curtailed manner. International passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country.