Chennai airport, which was recently modernised by the Airports Authority of India, is to be privatised. New Delhi (GMR), Mumbai (GVK), Bangalore (Tatas) and Hyderabad (GMR) have already been privatised and are being successfully administered by private operators. The government plans to hand over Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports to private players.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said that the scope for privatisation of the Chennai and Kolkata airports includes the development of air side and city side facilities on a long term concession. Requests for qualification for the Chennai and Lucknow airports would be received by mid-October and financial bids would have to be placed by mid-December.
The bids would be patterned on the Delhi and Mumbai airport models and would be in the form of revenue share to be paid to the AAI. A user development fee is also being allowed as per Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) though it is a controversial issue as both passenger associations and airlines are protesting them, but they help the developer to bridge his funding gaps. The emphasis on privatisation is not on revenue that will be generated but how efficiently private operators will manage these new modernised airports.