Monday, July 19, 2021

India’s Second-Richest Man Is Now The Country’s Largest Airport Operator

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani Airport Holdings Ltd. (AAHL) took control this week of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, the second busiest airport in the country, after completing all formalities and obtaining necessary approvals.

AAHL had signed a deal with the Hyderabad-based GVK Group in August 2020 to acquire its 50.5% stake in Mumbai International Airport Ltd. (MIAL), that had built and was operating the Mumbai airport until now. AAHL acquired another 23.5% stake in February this year for 16.85 billion rupees ($225 million) from the two foreign partners in the company, Airport Company of South Africa and Bidvest, taking its stake up to 74%. The government-owned Airports Authority of India holds the remaining 26%.

AAHL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Gujarat-headquartered Adani Enterprises, which has interests in various areas including mining services, solar manufacturing, roads, airport services, and data centers.

The acquisition also entitles Adani to a 74% stake in the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport, which will be the second airport for India’s commercial capital. At a cost of $2.2 billion, Navi Mumbai’s first phase was to become operational in 2023 and the airport was to be completed in phases by 2031.

Mumbai’s airport is the country’s second busiest airport for both passenger and freight traffic, after Delhi International Airport, which is operated by diversified infrastructure group GMR.

According to information available on the Airports Authority of India website, in May 2021, Mumbai International Airport handled 434,680 passengers–380,495 domestic and 54,185 international–or 9.8% of all air passenger traffic in the country. The airport handled 9.5% of all aircraft movements that same month, while nearly 26% of all air freight in the country passed through the Mumbai airport in the same period.

Before the pandemic, in May 2019, MIAL handled 13.5% of all passenger traffic, 11.5% of all aircraft movements and 26.7% of all airfreight.

19/07/21 Ramakrishnan Narayanan/Forbes

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