Announcement of contracts for airport modernisation run into union protests

The award of the awards for the Delhi and Mumbai airports by the empowered group of ministers has met with strong reaction from the unionised employees of the Airports Authority of India.

They are agitating at all major airports across the country against private participation in the modernisation of the airports. There were reports of minor scuffles and police reaction near the Mumbai airport. The AAI employee unions are backed by the Left parties.

Ending a three-and-a-half years of uncertainties and controversies, the empowered group of ministers yesterday finalised the contracts for the modernisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports. The consortium of Hyderabad-based GMR Industries and Fraport of Germany has won the bid for Delhi airport while another Hyderabad-based company GVK has won the contract for Mumbai in partnership with South Africa airports.

The GMR-Fraport combine was given the choice to pick either of the two airports after it emerged as the only bidder to meet the 80-per cent technical evaluation score after the Shreedharan Committee downgraded Anil Ambani's Reliance Airport Developers from 80 per cent to 70 per cent.

Accordingly, GMR-Fraport combine chose Delhi, even though the Reliance Airport Developers led consortium was the highest financial bidder offering a 45.99-per cent share of future revenues from the Delhi airport to the Airports Authority of India.

The GMR-Fraport combine was given the option to match this financial bid, which it promptly did, raising it from its earlier offer of 43.64 per cent.