CIAL to take part in bidding process for Mumbai, Delhi airports

Kochi: Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL), the lone private player in India, is now dreaming a touch-down in the country's metros, with its top brass deciding to bid for the Mumbai and Delhi airports, after Thursday's central government nod for their privatisation.

CIAL directors, who informally discussed the issue along the sidelines of a reception to Union Civil Aviation Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy here, told airport managing director V J Kurien to initiate formalities "to register our presence at the national scenario" at a time when New Delhi is contemplating a change in the country's aviation policy.

CIAL is planning a separate joint venture with HUDCO and Lufthansa for taking part in the bidding process. In fact, the concept of a special purpose vehicle with HUDCO and Lufthansa was seriously discussed sometime back when the CIAL board deliberated on its future plans.

"We are brushing up this concept. Though no claims are being made at this juncture, we will definitely participate in the process. The joint venture firm will bid for the 74-per cent shares in both the airports. This, at least, will give us a feel of the whole game," a top official tells domain-b.

CIAL is dead serious about the idea. The foray, says the official, "will help us gain valuable experience about the formalities. As per the privatisation policy, we will be in charge of running the airport except sensitive areas like air traffic and security. This experience will prepare us for the real encounter when the central government clears Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports for privatisation."

The Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode airports have been listed in the non-metro category airports to be privatised. The process will begin immediately after the centre takes a decision on the other two metro airports — Chennai and Kolkata.