Civil aviation minister Mahesh Sharma told Parliament there was no proposal to privatise airports in the country. “However, based on the recommendations of Task Force on Financing Plan for Airports during 12th Five Year Plan period, set up by erstwhile Planning Commission, the government has initiated the process for undertaking operation, management and development of Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports through Public Private Partnership (PPP),” he told the Lok Sabha.
AAEU’s general secretary Balraj Singh Ahlawat, refuted to this and said, “The fact that the ministry was giving 76% stake to the private companies for 60 years makes the whole exercise as good as privatisation. It gives the private entity majority stake, and therefore a bigger say in all matters relating to that airport.”
R Santahnam, all-India president of the AAEU, said “A section of the (AAI) Act was amended to pave the way for leasing of the airports for development, operation and management. This made it easy for any private company to enter into a joint venture with the AAI through a subsidiary company created along with it. This was done for the purpose of privatization.”