Monday, July 01, 2019

AAI Employees Write to Civil Aviation Minister Opposing Privatisation

Airports Authority of India (AAI) Employees Joint Forum wrote a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri, registering their protest against the proposed privatisation of the six profit-making airports across the country. The Government of India is currently in the process of privatising six airports, namely Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Mangaluru, and Thiruvananthapuram.

In the letter, AAI Employees Joint Forum referred to the previously privatised airports of Delhi and Mumbai, and said, “The privatisation of these airports have not brought any good to the country and the people at large as far as facilitation, providing additional employment to society, participation in the development of Aviation infrastructure in the country etc. are concerned. Moreover, privatisation has encouraged monopolistic operation, exploitation of employees and additional burden on the general public.”
Talking to NewsClick, Balraj Singh Ahlawat, the general secretary of Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU) and convenor of the joint forum, said, “There is no financial support from the Government of India or any other sources. Our financial position has further been hard hit due to inability of Air India to clear our dues and other airlines, which have either folded their business and/or are at the verge of complete closure. The financial effect on AAI due to these developments is never compensated in any form.”

The employees of AAI have been constantly protesting against the move since it was declared in November, 2018. They have repeatedly held demonstrations at airports across the country, opposing the move to privatise six more airports. Ahlawat said that before the privatisation of Mumbai and Delhi airports, 60% of the income of AAI came from these two airports. After privatisation, the total revenue earned from these two airports has been reduced to 30% of the net income of AAI. He said, “As per the records of 2015-16, out of the net income of Rs 12,542 crore from all the airports, only Rs 3,836 crore came from Delhi and Mumbai airports.”

“Before privatisation, 60% of the income of AAI came from Delhi and Mumbai airports. However, after privatisation, that number has decreased to 30%. As per the records of 2015-16, out of the net income of Rs 12,542 crore from all the airports, only Rs 3,836 crore came from Delhi and Mumbai airports,” Ahlawat said, adding that this was an indication that income would further decrease after privatisation of these six airports, which are making good profits now.
01/07/19 Ditsa Bhattacharya/Newsclick

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