Adani Airport Holdings Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Adani Group, on Tuesday took over the management of the Mumbai airport from business conglomerate GVK, the company said.
The group has now become the country’s largest airport infrastructure company that is in charge of developing or managing eight airports in total. The company now controls 25% of passenger footfalls and 33% of air cargo in the country.
The group now owns a 74% stake in the Mumbai International Airport Limited, according to the Business Standard.
The company also announced that it will start the construction of the Navi Mumbai International Airport in August. “Financial closure to be completed in the next 90 days and the New International Airport will be commissioned in 2024,” the company’s statement said.
Chairperson of the group Gautam Adani said that the company’s objective was to “reinvent airports as ecosystems that drive local economic development and act as the nuclei around which we can catalyse aviation-linked businesses”.
Adani said that his group will set up an “airport ecosystem of the future” and create thousands of new local jobs.
In 2019, the Adani Group had won competitive bids for control on the operations of the airports in Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Guwahati, Lucknow, Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram. The group won the right to operate them for 50 years, surpassing established players like GMR Airports Limited.
The Adani Group, however, plans to defer the takeover of the airports in Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram till December, as these assets have currently turned financially unviable due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mint reported.
A report in The Indian Express said that the conglomerate won the bids for the six airports despite the Ministry of Finance and NITI Aayog’s objections. The Department of Economic Affairs had suggested in a note that not more than two airports should be given to the same bidder because of the huge financial risk involved in the project, the report said.
In August 2020, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against the Centre’s decision to hand over Thiruvananthapuram airport to the Adani Group. Vijayan had said that the move was against “the assurance given during a personal meeting with prime minister in New Delhi”.