Citing the coronavirus pandemic, the Adani Group has sought at least six months from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to take over the Lucknow, Mangalore, and Ahmedabad airports. The Airports Authority of India had bid out six of its airports in 2019 and Adani Group emerged as the highest bidder for all six—Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Jaipur and Guwahati airports.
While the Union Cabinet is yet to approve the bids of Jaipur, Trivandrum and Guwahati, the Adani Group signed the takeover agreement for operations, development and maintenance of the remaining three airports in February 2020.
In November last year, the government had cleared a proposal for managing six AAI-run airports on public-private partnership basis. The move, the AAI had said, is part of an initiative to provide world-class infrastructure and services to stakeholders.
The aviation sector has been one of the worst-hit in the worldwide lockdown to slow down the highly infectious coronavirus. Since the lockdown started in India in March, most airlines have cut salaries and sacked employees to keep afloat.
After the 60-day lockdown, the government started domestic air travel last month. Most airports are struggling with numerous safety aspects to ensure that the infection does not spread.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Puri has assured that international air travel will also be restarted “after several factors are addressed”.