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Monday, Jul 22, 2002

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Metro airports lease funds for upgradation

Ashwini Phadnis

NEW DELHI, July 21

THE monies raised from the leasing of the four metro airports at Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai will be utilised for modernisation of other airports, including air traffic control facility, senior Government officials have said.

"The funds raised from the leasing of the four metro airports will not flow into the Consolidated Fund of India but will be utilised for development of the sector. After all, even now there is some amount of cross-subsidy and the monies earned by a few airports is utilised for all the airports in the country," a senior Government official told Business Line.

The Government is committed to complete the leasing of the four metro airports by the end of the current financial year in keeping with the Budget announcement made by the former Finance Minister, Mr Yashwant Sinha.

Sources said that the Government plans to charge an annual fee, linked to traffic growth, from the lessor of the four metro airports.

"When we decide on how to charge the operators, we plan to work out a formula which includes both passenger and cargo in traffic. Apart from an upfront fee, we are also likely to charge an annual fee. The idea is to share the risk with the new party and, at the same time, ensure that a certain fixed amount of revenue is generated for both the parties," official sources said.

On the issue of what the Government plans to fix as the base price for a bid to be accepted, officials said that this was likely to be decided closer to the date of the bids being called.

Meanwhile, the Government plans to adopt the internationally accepted 19 parameters such as proper signage, quality of trolleys at the airport and how passenger-friendly the airport is, to qualify the four airports to be leased out as international and world-class airports.

"The International Air Transport Authority has laid down 19 criteria. The basic idea is to change all the things which trouble passengers at the airports so that they can qualify to be called world-class airports," official sources said.

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