New greenfield airports to be operational for general aviation:Patel

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New Delhi, Mar 12 (UNI) Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel today assured Parliament that the interests of the Airport Authority of India employees at Hyderabad and Bangalore Airports would be fully protected and the two airports would continue to remain operational for general aviation, defence purposes and national emergencies.

In his statement, the minister said the two state governments had approached the Centre in 1990s seeking the construction of Greenfield airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore in view of problems posed by traffic growth and the constraints at the existing airports.

The minister's statement comes in the wake of response to series of notices and motions from the members of the both Houses of Parliament seeking the continuation of these two profit making airports and not the monopoly of the two greenfield airports.

In 2000, the Task Force on infrastructure recommended setting up of new international airports in the two cities and closure of the existing airports once the new airports become operational.

Based on this recommendation, the government approved the proposal and the decision was taken to ensure financial viability of the new airports.

The state governments decided to implement the projects through Public Private Partnership (PPP) and selected private partners through international competitive bidding. To implement the projects, Joint Venture Companies were set up with 74 per cent equity by the private companies and 13 per cent each by the respective state governments and Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Government of India (GOI) entered into a Concession Agreement with these Joint Venture Companies (JVC) in 2004. The Concession Agreements entail obligations of the JVCs regarding the implementation of the projects and require them to construct, develop and maintain the airports as per the standards stipulated in these agreements.

On its part, GOI is obliged to close down all commercial civil aviation operations at the existing airports once the new airports are made operational. The Concession Agreement specifies the consequences of default by each party.

He said all reserved activities such as security, immigration, customs and air traffic control would continue to be under the control of government at the new airports.


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