Ashwini Phadnis

Hyderabad, March 29

With the greenfield airport at Hyderabad set to become operational in the next 30 months, work is going on at a hectic pace to identify and award contracts for various facilities that will be coming up there.

While a decision is expected within the next month or two on which of the three internationally-reputed cargo operators should be chosen for managing the facility at the new airport, promoters will decide on who the airport retail concessionaire should be to run the duty-free shops there by the year-end.

"Three parties of international repute have shown an interest in taking up cargo operations at the Hyderabad airport. The short-listed party will also be bring in equipment for the cargo operations, while we will be providing the land and the buildings facilities," said Mr. T. Srinagesh, Chief Operating Officer, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd.

Fuel farm

Similarly, a decision on who should run the fuel farm at the airport would be taken by August. Officials said that at least eight companies, including Indian Oil, BPCL and Reliance, have shown interest in the project. Discussions are also underway with the top-five Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility operators, including Lufthansa Technik to set up a base at the new airport. "At the moment, we are open on the kind of agreement including having some equity participation from our side for the MRO facility," said Mr Srinagesh.

The names of the companies that have responded for the various tenders could, however, not be revealed, as it would go against the tender norm conditions, officials said.

The promoters also plan to have a stake in an airport hotel coming up close to the terminal building. "The airport hotel would neither be an upmarket nor a mid-market property," said a senior GMR official. Besides, plans are also afoot to have an airport-based Special Economic Zone."We are expecting revenues of Rs 35-40 crore in 2008-09 and hope to earn operating profits from first year itself," said Mr Srinagesh.The airport, which initially will be capable of handling seven million passengers per annum, is set to become operational in early 2008.The project, which is 20 km from the existing airport, is a joint venture between the GMR Group, Malaysian Airports, Airports Authority of India and the Andhra Pradesh State Government.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 30, 2006)
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