All seven Adani Group-run airports in the country made losses in FY23. This is according to the analysis of the data shared by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in the Lok Sabha while answering a question posed by Salem MP SR Parthiban.
The most loss-making Public Private Partnership (PPP) airport is the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad, where the loss for FY23 was ₹408.51 crore. In India, 14 operational airports run in the PPP model. Seven of them are either fully or partly operated by the Adani Group. This includes Mumbai, Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Lucknow and Mangaluru airports, besides Ahmedabad. All of them made a loss in FY23.
Though the airports owned by Adani were loss-making, the holding company, Adani Airports Holding Ltd (AAHL), is profitable and registered a profit in FY23. Apart from these airports, AAHL owns other subsidiaries and provides services in these airports, according to the company disclosures.
“Airports are not just fancy terminal buildings. Airside construction to meet mandatory safety standards is a big bleed. Unless air traffic picks up in a big way, airport incomes will not noticeably increase,” says aviation safety expert Captain Mohan Ranganathan.
Mark Martin, CEO of Martin Consulting, also says that the development cost recovery in bigger airports like Ahmedabad and Mumbai will take time. At the same time, he criticises the government’s aviation policy and adds that privatising low-air traffic airports will not bring profits. “The revenues are at an all-time high and so is the air traffic. But why isn’t it transpiring as airport revenues,” he asks.
Of all airports operated in the PPP model, only Bengaluru, Kochi and Hyderabad were profitable during the last fiscal. Most of the Bengaluru Airport’s shares are held by Canada-based Fairfax Financials. It was also the most profitable airport in the country in FY23. The Kochi airport, on the other hand, is the first in the country to be built in the PPP model and has more than 19,000 investors. Martin says that one reason here is that these act as feeder airports for many international destinations, as well as Mumbai and Delhi.
Among all the airports in the country, Ahmedabad made the most loss, while Bengaluru made the most profits — ₹528 crore.
AAI’s loss narrows
The ministry data also points out that the cumulative annual losses of the AAI after running its 125 airports were ₹461.59 crore. This is much lesser than the losses that the body made in FY22 and FY21.
Among all its airports, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata was the most profitable at ₹482.2 crore. The Chennai International Airport came second, making a profit of ₹169.56 crore.