Shadow of privatisation inching towards Mangaluru International Airport

Daijiworld Media Network -Mangaluru (SP)

Mangaluru, Dec 5: The union government has assessed that the experiment of public-private partnership (PPP) it had tried in five leading airports including Bengaluru has been successful. In the second phase, it proposes to manage six more airports under PPP model.

The six airports which are proposed to be brought under the scheme are Thiruvananthapuram, Lucknow, Jaipur, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, and Mangaluru. Once a decision is taken, these airports will go out of the control of Airports Authority of India (AAI). The central government has given its in-principle nod for the proposal, and tender floated for the purpose will be opened on December 10.

The employees working at the airport are apprehensive, as this happens to be the only airport under AAI at present in Karnataka. They are worried about likelihood of their transfer etc, as Air Traffic Control will alone be under the control of AAI once the transfer takes place. The airport here, which was incurring losses, has now been making profits, with new airport building, parallel taxiway, and other development works executed recently.

Among people also there is apprehension about the charges at the airport getting dearer once the airport falls under PPP.

Retired airport director, M R Vasudeva, feels that people who might take over this airport will find it hard to earn profit as Kannur airport has been opened nearby and Jet Airways has suspended its Dubai flight. He felt that deft management skills alone can achieve this. Everything will depend on the nature of PPP after the bid is opened, he opines.