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MoCA seeks private operators for six Indian airports
Shekhar Niyogi, New Delhi, February 7, 2014

THE Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) in India will begin inviting bids for the operation of six airports in the next few months and will not levy an airport development fee for the facilities.


Contracted parties will be expected to operate, maintain and develop the airports of Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Guwahati and Jodhpur on a revenue-share model with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for 30 years, with concessions.


Bidding is expected to commence in March or April 2014. AAI will not invest in the bidding companies.


Meanwhile, MoCA’s decision to privatise the six airports has raised concerns that charges may consequently become exorbitant as has happened in the case of New Delhi and Mumbai airports’ user development fee.


Said a MoCA source: “We do not want costs, and therefore charges levied on passengers and airlines, to become astronomical, as they did in New Delhi.”


Anil Punjabi, chairman-eastern India, Travel Agents Federation of India, said: “The privatisation of airports is healthy as there is accountability of performance and that leads to efficient operation.


“However, the costs and fees charged to airlines and passengers must be curtailed and monitored to ensure that they do not become prohibitive and affect the economic viability of airlines to fly to certain key destinations in the country.”


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