After a year of wait, Adani Group is expected to finally sign the concession agreement with Airports Authority of India (AAI) today for operations, management and development of the three airports of Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru, sources close to the development told CNBC-TV18.
Once the agreement is signed, Adani Group will start the process of taking over the three airports and the transition is likely to be completed within the next 60 days, the sources added.
The group made entry into the Indian aviation space in February 2019 when it emerged as the highest bidder for all six state-run airports that were put up for privatisation.
The Ahmedabad-based conglomerate surprised the industry with its aggressive bids. At Rs 115 per passenger for Mangaluru and Rs 171 for Lucknow, Adani Group’s bids were over 500 percent more than the lowest bids received from the GMR Group and PNC Infratech respectively. Similarly, it placed a bid of Rs 177 for Ahmedabad airport, nearly 200 percent more than the lowest bid of Rs 60 of Autostrade Indian Infrastructure Development Pvt Ltd.
The Gautam Adani-led group’s bids for the airports of Jaipur, Guwahati and Trivandrum are yet to be approved by the Union Cabinet as the three are stuck in legal hurdles.
In November 2018, the Union Cabinet had decided to privatise six airports to increase their efficiency and quality. The airports will be given on a lease period of 50 years. To invite greater participation, prior airport experience was not among the mandatory bidding criteria.
Under a two-stage tender process, which concluded February 2019, Adani Group emerged as the highest bidder for all six airports, quoting the highest per passenger fee to be paid to Airports Authority of India on a monthly basis.