Plans afoot to privatise 8 airports including Chennai, Kochi airports

Privatisation of the maintenance of airport terminals was a plan initiated by the previous UPA government, which has faced a roadblock as the employee unions started protesting against the move. The current plan is to privatise at least eight government-owned airports — Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Guwahati.

The civil aviation ministry is believed to be having discussions on designing the model on how the airports would be bid out and is likely the airports will be bid out for 30 years and the tariffs will be fixed upfront.

Under the two models being examined, one is a forward bidding process based on tariff per passenger and the other is a reverse bidding model — essentially a tariff-based bidding. Under the forward bidding process, players will bid on fee per passenger it will share with the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The player that quotes the highest figure will be chosen. The landing and user charges an operator will set during the concession period will be fixed upfront by the ministry. On the other hand, under the reverse bidding model, a bidder who quotes the lowest landing and user charges will emerge winner. In this case, the revenue to be shared with the AAI will be fixed upfront.