Thursday, October 08, 2020

'Adani Group asked to take over Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru airports by November 12'

New Delhi: The government will soon allow Indian carriers to operate upto 75% of their originally approved schedule of domestic flights. It has also decided to run six more Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports the PPP way — Varanasi, Amritsar, Bhubaneshwar, Raipur, Indore and Trichy. And the Adani Group has been asked to take over and start running the Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports by November 12, 2020. The process of handing over remaining airports to the Adani Group — Guwahati, Jaipur and Trivandrum — is on with the letter of award being issued to it.

“Domestic airlines will soon be allowed to increase their capacity to 75%, from 65% at present as we are seeing a healthy revival in air travel. When domestic flights resumed on May 25, we saw 30,000 passengers that day and this number crossed 1.7 lakh on October 3. Given this revival, we will in a week or 10 days allow 75% of originally approved schedule of domestic flights to be mounted by airlines,” aviation minister H S Puri said Thursday, adding he expected to return to the pre-Covid level of over 3 lakh daily domestic passengers between Diwali (November 14) and the year-end.

“Our revenue was down by 80% in April-June, 2020, quarter over same period last fiscal. We are yet to cross 50% mark of revenue of last year and had to take working capital loan. The winning bidder of Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports (Adani Group) has to take over the airports by November 12 and then the other three will be handed over. We expect upfront payment of Rs 1,000 crore followed by another Rs 1,300 crore from them for the six airports,” AAI chairman Arvind Singh said. Citing force majeure due to the pandemic, Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) had sought time till February 15, 2021, to take over the airports.

08/10/20 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India

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