The time to carry forward the process of privatisation of six airports is running short but the process would continue even if the government does not, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said on Tuesday.
"The time is short. But once we have set the process in motion, the government may not continue but the process will," Singh said when asked how long the privatisation process would take.
He said the Civil Aviation Ministry has approved a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) but "it will have to go through several committees. The IMG (Inter-Ministerial Group) will also go through it. It will meet some time soon."
Government has put on the block the six airports at Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Guwahati, all modernised in the recent past by state-run Airports Authority of India. The concession agreements are also to be finalised.
Asked about the Ministry proposal to relax or scrap the rule to allow Indian airlines to fly abroad, Singh said there would be "nothing restrictive" once the rule was "scrapped".
The prevailing rule allows only those airlines to operate on international sectors which have a 20-aircraft fleet and have flown domestically for five years.
Once the rule is done away with, he said the norms already set by the DGCA would become operational.
To a question by when the government would allow the superjumbo Airbus A-380 to fly from India, the Minister said, "We are looking at it. Officials have talked to the airlines (which plan to operate these planes here)."
There were concerns over ground handling, immigration and security clearance for 500-600 passengers who would arrive or depart at a time in these large air planes, he said, adding the infrastructure to handle such a large number of passengers at one go has to be in place.
"We are awaiting the feedback" from security, immigration and ground handling agencies, Singh said.