Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thiruvananthapuram International Airport: Busiest airports across world are operated in private sector, says chief of IBS Software Services

Thiruvananthapuram: Airports create economic activity and high quality job opportunities. Every 10 per cent increase in air traffic is estimated to result in half a percent growth in GDP. It is not a mere coincidence that most of the busiest and successful airports in the world are operated in private sector, says VK Mathews, Executive Chairman, IBS Software Services.
Mathews welcomed the move of the Centre to bring in a private operator for operating and managing the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport. IBS Software is a leading provider of new-gen IT solutions to the global travel, transportation and logistics industry. Mathews was one of the anchor investors at Technopark, once the country’s largest technology park.
There are several misconceptions about airports and their business model resulting in the uproar against their privatisation, Mathews told BusinessLine from Dubai. “It is important for us to understand the realities of airport operation and the implication of privatisation, before we take a position to oppose it. Since I have been working and involved in the aviation sector for over three decades, I thought I should share my views on the topic,” Mathews said.

An airport is a commercial and customer services enterprise and therefore not an ideal area for governments to operate in. An efficient, convenient and modern airport will increase air connectivity and promote economic development. Better the airport, more the traffic and increased earnings for the State by way of levying user fees. A private investment will bring in the necessary efficiency and focus of a private enterprise and regulatory rigor of the government.

“Several airports in the country got immensely benefited by private investment, and why not Thiruvananthapuram? We now have a great opportunity to make it India’s best. We should not miss this opportunity because of unfounded fears and concerns. Let’s together welcome the best of investments into our city and take it to the next level of growth and prosperity,” Mathews added.

Four of the top-five earning airports in the world (Heathrow, Frankfurt, Madrid and Paris) are private airports. The private airports in India (Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad) have recorded phenomenal growth in the past years. In 2018, they won the “Best Airport in the World” awards in three respective categories of large, medium, and small airports (ACI Airport Service Quality Awards).

The Thiruvananthapuram International Airport is extremely critical to the development of the State capital region and the southern districts of Kerala. The State’s vision to develop Thiruvananthapuram as a knowledge-driven digital hub is critically dependent on Trivandrum airport and its air connectivity.
20/08/20 Vinson Kurian/Business Line
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