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Trivandrum Airport: Kerala protests signing of deal with Adani

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 20, 2021 Published on January 20, 2021

CM Pinarayi Vijayan took grave exception to the concession agreement being signed on the sly and in defiance of more than one appeal pending in the SC

A concession agreement may have been signed in New Delhi between the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Adani Group for operations, management and development of the Trivandrum International Airport, but it does not guarantee a timeline for the handover to take effect on ground.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has already made a statement on the floor of the State Assembly the morning after (Wednesday) that signing of the concession agreement merely perpetuated the Centre’s overt moves to protect the interests of private sector monopolies in strategic sectors.

‘Centre goes back on promise’

The Centre has broken its promise extended to the Left Democratic Front government in the state that its interests would be protected in the matter. Vijayan took grave exception to the fact that the concession agreement was signed on the sly and in defiance of more than one appeal pending in the Supreme Court.

Petitions by both the State government and the Airport Authority Employees Union are listed for hearing on January 22. The AAI employees staged a dharna on Tuesday in front of the Airport Director’s office since ‘they fear whether their wages would be protected and service conditions maintained’ under the new dispensation.

State Support Agreement

The State government’s moves would be watched with keen interest since it is expected to sign a State Support Agreement before the airport can he handed over to the concessionaire. The former has already hinted that it would not pursue the acquisition of additional land required for developing an integrated terminal.

Concessionaire Adani Trivandrum International Airport Limited (ATIAL) is required to submit a performance bank guarantee to the AAI. A team of ATIAL personnel is expected to come down to Thiruvananthapuram to get a feel of the airport operations for two months from April.

More flights, better rates

The incumbent Airport Director would be replaced by a Chief Airport Office as ATIAL takes over the commercial operations of the 88-year-old airport in four-five months. Air traffic communication, air navigation services, and security will remain with the AAI during the 50-year-long lease period before being handed back to the AAI.

Sources said that it is incumbent on ATIAL to boost traffic and revenue from airport operations, which would require it to add to the number of available domestic and international flights and other services by offering suitably lower rates, given strong competition from the Cochin International Airport, among others.

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Published on January 20, 2021
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