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Wednesday, Sep 18, 2002

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CIAL eyeing investors for service facility

G.K. Nair

KOCHI, Sept. 17

COCHIN International Airport Ltd (CIAL) at nearby Nedumbassery is looking for investors for setting up a modern aircraft maintenance facility in the airport.

CIAL has enough land, asphaltic concrete runway of 3,400-metre length, taxi track of 930 metres, apron of 425 x 125 metres where eight aircraft could be parked at a time including four wide-bodied aircraft and an isolation parking bay etc. Besides, more foreign airlines have shown interest in operating to and from Nedumbassery.

Given this situation, the company had decided to present all these details before the prospective investors during the Global Investors Meet scheduled to be held in early November here, Mr Babu C. Rajeev, Managing Director, CIAL, told Business Line.

The maintenance bay which was inaugurated on Friday by the Air India (AI) Chairman, Mr Roy Paul, at the airport is the second of the AI bay in the country. It is a captive facility for the national carrier. "It signals the beginning of a major set-up that is to come up'', he said.

The bay would have the facility to conduct 100-hour check, transit check, base transit check etc. The AI is expected to make revenue of Rs 25 crore per annum from this facility. Its further development would depend on the fleet expansion of the airline.

A decision on acquisition of aircraft was expected to be taken at the meeting of the board of directors of the national carrier scheduled to be held on September 18, Mr Roy Paul said.

Meanwhile, the meeting of a CIAL delegation led by the State Finance Minister which was tentatively fixed for September 10/11, with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Hudco authorities in New Delhi to discuss about their equity participation in the company, had been deferred, he said. "We are awaiting new dates'', he added.

On the other hand, Hudco, the major financier of the airport with a loan of over Rs 130 crore, is understood to have decided to conduct a study on the airport before making any commitment to participate in the airport equity and other projects. The SBI Caps has been appointed to conduct the study.

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