Thiruvananthapuram: A new era dawns for the Trivandrum International Airport as one of India's greatest business houses will chart its future course from tonight onwards.
The Adani Trivandrum International Airport Limited (ATIAL) will take over from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) the management of the airport in Kerala's capital city at midnight on Wednesday.
ATIAL, a subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Limited, will maintain and manage the airport for the next 50 years.
The Chief Airport Officer of ATIAL G Madhusoodana Rao will officially take over the charge from Airport Director C V Raveendran.
Rao was earlier with the AAI.
The airport will function with the participation of the current AAI employees, who will be retained for three years. After three years, they could either be part of Adani Airports or get transferred to any AAI-managed airport.
ATIAL has decided to retain the name of the Trivandrum International Airport, Kerala's first aerodrome.
October 18 is the deadline set for ATIAL to take over the airport from the AAI. The ATIAL signed the take-over agreement with the AAI on January 19 this year.
From October 18, the Adani Group will be free to ring in any changes that would allow it to operate, manage and develop the airport into a high-profit entity. “The agreement allows them vast powers and the development they usher in will depend on the Adani Group's management perspective,” a top AAI official said on the condition of anonymity.
Tharoor welcomes Adani
Shashi Tharoor, the Member of Parliament representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency, welcomed the transition.
"I hope that they will do a good job in Thiruvananthapuram airport too,” said Tharoor referring to the takeover of the city airport by the Adani Group.
Adani is expected to infuse dynamism in the management of the airport. “The ATIAL can now enter into direct negotiations with airlines to bring more direct flights to Thiruvananthapuram,” the AAI official said.
Under the AAI, the Thiruvananthapuram airport had lost badly to the competition. As it was under the AAI and was trapped in bureaucratic red tape, the Thiruvananthapuram International Airport was unable to provide various concessions that could have attracted top airlines to Thiruvananthapuram. Even Cochin International Airport Limited, which ran the Nedumbassery International Airport, could announce swift concessions and waive-offs.
Earlier a political slugfest had erupted between the Centre and the Kerala government over the privatisation of the airport. The airport is being taken over by ATIAL after the Centre decided to lease out its operation, management and development for a period of 50 years.
Adani Enterprises has won the rights to run several airports in the country.