Govt yet to take call on privatisation of Trivandrum airport, Hardeep Singh Puri tells Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: The government on Wednesday said it is yet to take a final call on the privatisation of Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala where the state government is keen on running it and has urged for the same. "The Government still has to take a call on whether the airport to which there is a reference... whether we should proceed or the request of the Kerala government should be considered", Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha.

 Govt yet to take call on privatisation of Trivandrum airport, Hardeep Singh Puri tells Rajya Sabha

File image of Hardeep Singh Puri. Getty images

Puri said that the government in 2018 had accorded 'in-principle' approval for leasing of six airports of the Airport Authority of India (AAI) - Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Mangaluru and Thiruvanathapuram - for operation, management and development through public-private partnership mode. He said the decision has been taken to proceed with privatisation of three of these airports.

However, as far as the airport in Kerala is concerned, the chief minister has asked not to privatise it, he said. "As far as the government of Kerala is concerned, the chief minister has written to us and I will also be meeting him in the next few days. We will have to take a call based on the facts on record and bid received. Kerala government has requested not to privatise the operation of this airport", he said.

Earlier, former Union minister A K Antony urged him to take the request of the state government as a special case to which Puri said the Centre had received all shades of opinions including the request by the "chief minister that the airport be handed over to the state government for operation". He said that Kerala has a very rich history of privatisation and houses the first airport that was privatised in the 1980s.

To this, the leader of the Opposition in the House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, said that it was a greenfield and not a brownfield one. Many other members also supported him. Puri said the government's experiment with privatisation as regards Delhi and Mumbai airports has been successful.

He said the government had received several representations including from members of the Opposition saying that the bid which has been received from the party and has won the six airports, should be allowed to proceed. "MPs from Opposition have taken a stand that government is not normally adept in running the airport", he added.

About Guwahati and Jaipur airports, he said there were some legal land issues which have been more or less resolved and a call will be taken. Puri said based on global tenders, Airports Authority of India has issued letters of award for handing over Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports to Adani Enterprises Ltd. He said AAI will continue to carry statutory functions of providing communication navigation surveillance, air traffic management services, etc of these airports.

Updated Date: Jul 24, 2019 18:23:27 IST