Privatisation of six major airports likely ahead of LS polls

11 fwThe Civil Aviation Ministry is hopeful of completing the process of privatising six major airports, including those at Chennai and Kolkata, within a time-frame and ahead of the 2014 general elections.

The Ministry’s move to hand over these airports, developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), through public- private partnership in the next 2-3 months to private parties suffered a setback with the sale of bid documents for Chennai and Lucknow airports being postponed by several weeks.

“We are quite optimistic about doing it within the time- frame. There is some cushion period available which we are using now,” Civil Aviation Secretary K N Shrivastava said when asked whether the entire process of bidding, selection of the bidder and the award of the project would be completed before the general elections likely early next year.

“We are going through the process of consulting all stakeholders, including Planning Commission. We have held pre- bid consultations with prospective bidders. Our effort is to see that Request for Proposal (RFP), Requests for Qualification (RFQ), the concession agreement and other documents are properly drafted so that no issues are raised later,” he said.

To questions on changes being made in the documents, Shrivastava said, “The stakeholders have given several suggestions. We may incorporate some of the valid suggestions and change the RFQ accordingly. The documents have to be legally perfect.”

The private parties, which are in the race to participate in the operation, management and transfer of these airports at Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati and wanted to submit the RFQ, have raised several issues including those relating to workforce and returns to be given to AAI.

Reproduced from The Economic Times

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