Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Patel promises to convert AAI into a company by 2010

Airports Authority of India would be turned into a company by amending laws to enable the body raise funds from market for carrying out modernization of a large number of major airports across the country, Civil Aviation Minister Pratfall Patel said on Wednesday."We are looking at corporatizing the AAI, turning it into a company from an authority which it is now... our objective is to list AAI (in the stock market)," he told reporters.

This, he said, would be carried out by amending the AAI Act that governs the airports' body to "help them in their financial future". "Funding will become easier if it becomes a company," Patel said. The amendment would be placed before Parliament "latest by March 2010.

Replying to a spate of questions he said, private infrastructure firms, including those involved in airport modernization, were listed companies and had good standing in the market. The AAI is currently modernizing major airports in and Chennai and 35 non-metro airports. It has huge properties including land and other assets across the country.

On upgrading non-metro airports, Patel said, the AAI had already started upgrading the terminal buildings. Private parties under the private-public partnership model are developing the city-side in these airports. The AAI is also making efforts to increase the non-traffic revenues at airports by better exploitation of the commercial opportunities, he said, adding that the terminal building was decided to be privatized.

In Parliament earlier, he had said the authority is planning to spend Rs 12,434 core for modernizing airports and air traffic services across the country during the Eleventh Plan period.These development projects would be financed through internal resources and borrowings by the AAI.

Of the 125 airports managed by the AAI, 86 are operational. As many as 15 of them made profit during 2007-08, the Minister said.The number of profit-making airports during the last three years was 13 in 2005-06, 14 in 2006-07 and 15 in 2007-08, he said.

Also, the minister had pointed out that major domestic airlines owed around Rs 250 core to the AAI for using various facilities, including air traffic control, parking space and landing facilities. These include Kingfisher Airlines, Jet Airways and Air India

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