Pact signed for handing over of capital airport

Despite opposition from the State and cases in the Supreme Court, the Airports Authority of India on Tuesday signed concession agreements with Adani Airports Ltd for operations, management and development of the Thiruvananthapuram international airport via PPP mode for 50 years.

In New Delhi, the agreements were exchanged between N.V. Subbarayudu, ED (SIU), Airports Authority of India, and Behnad Zandi, CEO, Adani Airports.

The concession agreements of Jaipur and Guwahati airports were signed and exchanged.

The date of signing of the pact was not announced as petitions filed by the Kerala government and the Airport Authority Employees Union (AAEU) against the handover of the airport are pending in the Supreme Court. Both the petitions have been listed for January 22.

Adani Trivandrum International Airport Ltd (ATIAL) of the Adani Group had bagged bids floated for privatisation of six AAI-managed airports.

AAEU to step up stir

The nearly 500 employees on the rolls of the AAI at the airport here staged a dharna in front of the Airport Directorโ€™s office. The AAEU announced that it would step up its stir as the pact was silent on wages and service conditions of the AAI personnel.

All eyes on govt. move

The next move of the State government is keenly watched as it will have to sign a State Support Agreement to hand over the airport. The government had hinted that it would back out from the acquisition of eight hectares needed from the Vallakkadavu-Vayyamoola area for the โ‚น600-crore integrated terminal.

In September, the AAI had issued the Letter of Award (LOA) based on the Union Cabinet decision to hand over the airport.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs gave the mandatory security clearance for the board of directors of the ATIAL in December.

Since the pact had been signed, the ATIAL will have to submit a performance bank guarantee to the AAI. ATIAL personnel will start observing the airport operations for two months from April.

Sources said the ATIAL would take over the commercial operations of the 88-year-old airport by June 20. The airport operations will be under the chief airport officer.

Compulsory clauses are in the agreement to usher in development of the airport as it has to be handed back after 50 years. Air traffic communication, air navigation services, and security will remain with the AAI during the lease.

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