The Adani Group has also acquired the second largest Mumbai airport in the country. The airport authority has flagged off its takeover on 12 January. Ahmedabad-based Adani Group has made the largest bid for 6 airports. The NITI Aayog and Finance Ministry had objected to the bidding process in the year 2019 that 6 airports should not be given to the same company but it was ignored.
Records from ‘The Indian Express’ reveal that bids were invited for Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangalore, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram airports under the NDA government’s largest privatization program. The proposal was discussed by the Central Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) on December 11, 2018 from the Civil Aviation Ministry.
During this meeting, the note given by the Ministry of Finance said that these 6 airports are highly capital intensive and it is not right to give them to the same company. No company should be given more than two airports.
In this case, the finance ministry had also approached the president of Delhi and Mumbai airports. Here GMR was the only qualified bidder but both the airports were not given to him. On the same day, the NITI Commission also expressed a different concern on the finance ministry’s note. The NITI Aayog said that the PPP memo was against the government’s policy. The bidder who does not have the technical capability will not be able to provide services as per the commitment of the government.
The PPAC headed by SC Garg, Secretary, Ministry of Finance, said that it has already been decided that earlier experiences will not be made the basis of bidding. A year after winning the bid, the Adani Group signed a concession agreement for Ahmedabad, Mangalore and Lucknow airports. In terms of bidding, the Adani Group outperformed the GMR Group, Zurik Airport and Kochi International Airport Limited. Therefore, Adani got the right to operate 6 airports for 50 years.
The Adani Group is today the largest private developer in the country which owns so many airports. In the last financial year, 7.90 crore passengers traveled from Ahmedabad, Mangalore, Lucknow, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai airports. 34.10 domestic traffic passes through these airports.