Adani unit seeks more time to take over three airport assets privatized recently

By Livemint

The Adani group has deferred to December plans to take over airport assets in Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram as operating these businesses is not likely to be financially feasible during the pandemic. This comes even as the group made huge strides to emerge as India’s biggest airport operator.

Adani Airports Holding Ltd (AAHL), the airport arm of the conglomerate, has sought to invoke force majeure, citing disruptions caused by the second wave of the pandemic.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI), which had last year approved AAHL’s request for extension to take over Lucknow, Ahmedabad and Mangaluru airports, will meet later this month to decide on the latest request of Adani group.

A senior AAI official confirmed the development. However, the public sector airport operator is yet to take a decision on this, the official said.

The conglomerate’s intent to foray into the airport business was aimed at leveraging the aviation boom in India, said Nripendra Singh, research head and strategy consultant, aviation, Frost & Sullivan.

“The domestic traffic is expected to increase exponentially once the pace of vaccination increases and the majority of the population gets vaccinated by December. All three airports, whose takeover is being delayed, are dominated by domestic traffic,” Singh said.

Adani group had won competitive bids to operate airports in cities such as Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Mangaluru and Thiruvananthapuram when the airport privatization process was rolled out by the government in the past few years.

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