The Adani Enterprises Group has signed a concession agreement with the Airport Authority India (AAI) for Trivandrum, Jaipur, and Guwahati airports. The group made the announcement on Tuesday.
“We are pleased to inform that Adani Jaipur International Airport Limited, Adani Guwahati International Airport Limited and Adani Thiruvananthapuram International Airport Limited, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the Company have signed the Concession Agreement on January 19, 2021, with Airports Authority of India for the Operations,” the Group announced in a regulatory filing.
The Group also added that in the agreement with the AAI, the concession period is 50 years from the commercial operation date.
In February 2019, the Adani Group won the bids for six AAI airports which includes Mangalore, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Trivandrum, Guwahati and Jaipur airports.
However a few days ago, a leading English daily reported that the Group won the bids for the six airports despite the Niti Aayog and Union Ministry of Finance raising objections concerning the 2019 bidding process.
When the central government decided to privatize six airports in 2019, Adani Group won the bid to operate them for 50 years. Surprisingly, some of the established groups such as the GMR Group did not win the bid. Several reports claim that the Narendra Modi government bypassed several norms to allow Adani to enter the airport operations business.
According to the reports, on December 11, 2018, the Public Partnership Appraisal Committee had a meeting on the Union Civil Aviation Ministry’s proposal to privatize airports.
However, a day before the Committee met for discussion, the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) sent a note to the Committee suggesting that since there is heavy financial risk involved in the projects, one bidder cannot be given more than two airports to operate. The DEA also said that giving airports to different companies will result in yardstick competition. Reportedly, the Committee did not discuss this note during their meeting.
With this development, the tussle between the Kerala government and the Adani Group over the Trivandrum airport may continue. Last year, the LDF government plead in the Kerala High Court over the leasing of the airport to a private party that has “no previous experience in managing airports”.
The High Court dismissed the State government's plea. Following this, the LDF government approached the Supreme Court seeking an interim stay on the Kerala HC’s verdict.