The government has decided to privatize 15 airports. The process will be kicked off by six main airports Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati â€” going for international bidding in the first phase. A meeting of an inter-ministerial group on this issue with representatives from planning commission, finance, law and aviation ministries will be held on Thursday.
“These airports will be operated, managed and further developed by the PPP players, in which Airports Authority of India (which built, modernized and operates them) will also have a stake. All employees working at these airports will have to be retained by the new operators as the AAI will not have the capacity to absorb them,” said a senior official of the aviation ministry, which is pushing hard for this hasty sell off.
Asked why the government is initiating this process with barely a few months to go for the polls and when airport privatization has proven to be so controversial, the official said: “The process is being started and we hope to put the blueprint in place. Maybe the process is actually taken forward by the next government but we are doing the groundwork. The pace at which this work progresses will decide whether UPA-II is able to do it or the next government,” said the official.