Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning to privatize at least 30-35 airports of India over the next five years.
A plan to offer additional airports for operations to private firms will be placed before the Union cabinet today, civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said.
Back in May, Modi had asked the civil aviation ministry to accelerate plans to privatize six more airports in the second round of auction.
“We are going to the cabinet tomorrow with further airport privatization plans. We have got many more airports lined up—dozens of them,” Puri announced through a webinar organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Tuesday. “And the 100 more airports that we will build between now and 2030, I think, will all augur well (for the economy).”, he added.
Privatization will be aimed at making airports more efficient in order to increase the revenues for the exchequer. During the pandemic, almost all air travel has been disrupted. Is expected that the government will be forced to be more liberal with the rules it sets for private bidders in the next auction.
Puri said he has high hopes when it comes to air travel. “I am extremely confident that both the domestic civil aviation and international civil aviation through bilateral air bubbles will revive very soon,” said Puri.
PM Modi expects that by Diwali, domestic air travel would reach 50-55% of pre-COVID-level, and return to pre-COVID levels by the end of the year.
India lifted the two-month suspension on all flights back in June. Domestic flights are now allowed to operate, but only in a staggered manner. Only limited international flights under the bilateral arrangements are allowed now, apart from cargo flights.