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Mgmt Control Of 2 Airports May Go To Global Operators

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Government is considering giving the management control of the new Kolkata and Chennai airports, built by the Airports Authority of India, to global operators through a competitive bidding process.

Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said on Tuesday, 26 March 2013, that the AAI could set up joint ventures with major foreign airport operators to carry out operations and management of these two crucial metro airports.

Addressing a CII meet on aviation in Nwe Delhi, he said, "The AAI could give management control of these airports through a competitive bidding process."

Earlier, the AAI had suggested to a Planning Commission Task Force that the management and operation of these airports could be undertaken through the public-private partnership mode by setting up joint ventures between it and foreign airport operators.

Maintaining that the Navi Mumbai airport had been delayed, the Minister said the Juhu Airport was being developed to augment the capacity of the Mumbai airport.

Referring to the crucial issue of taxation on jet fuel, he said his ministry was in consultations with the petroleum and finance ministries for notifying aviation turbine fuel (ATF) under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act to protect the interests of airlines. "We are also trying to convince the state governments to reduce sales tax on ATF."

AAI Chairman V P Aggarwal said the state-run airports body has proposed to set up joint ventures with private oil companies and airlines to meet the requirement of jet fuel, especially in remote parts of the country.

Observing that aircraft flying to smaller airports in remote parts of the country have to carry fuel for their return journey as well, he said, "Such joint ventures will own the assets and (ATF) distribution network at the airports at these (remote) airports."

AAI would own 13 per cent stake in the JVs and the rest would be held by the oil companies and airlines, he said.

ATF supply to carriers through the three-way joint ventures is expected to reduce fuel costs of local carriers by at least 10 percent, Aggarwal said.