Friday, February 05, 2021

Government to begin privatising airports by 2022, says civil aviation secretary

The Centre will begin privatising airports by 2022 and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is “examining a possibility” of offloading loss- making airports along with profitable ones.

Civil Aviation ministry secretary Pradeep Kharola on February 4 said the process of award will be for around 10 airports and part of the third phase of airport privatisation, The Economic Times reported.

“AAI is examining giving non-profitable airport and profit-making airports as a package. We could see six to 10 airports being taken up. The airports will be given to the private sector for 50 years,” Kharola said.

Further, Kharola also addressed the issue of Air India's divestment, saying it was fairly at an "advanced stage", PTI reported.

"When we say Air India, we mean the Air India family. So Air India goes along with Air India Express and AISATS... this side is Pawan Hans. This would be completed. Air India is, fairly I would say, at an advanced stage," he said.

He also spoke about the regional air connectivity scheme UDAN, and pointed out that the Centre's budgetary allocation for the scheme for FY 2021-22 was increased to Rs 600 crore from Rs 430 crore for the current fiscal.

"Thrust will be on the development of 100 airports. This is reflected in the increased budgetary allocation for operationalising the idle strips on small airports which lies throughout the country," he added.

Kharola also sought to clarify that airfare bands, put in place after flight services resumed after lockdown, will not be permanent.


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