AAI to give Adani Group till November 2020 to take over privatised airports

This is less than half the seven-month extension the group had asked for

Airports Authority of India, Adani Group, Privatised airports, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Force Majeure clause, Covid-19, Aviation business, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram

The state-run Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to give the Adani Group time till 12 November 2020 to take over commercial operations of the three privatised airports Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru.

This is less than half the seven-month extension the group had asked for, citing the Force Majeure clause because of COVID-19.

AAI will also reject the company’s requests of a six month moratorium on payment of concession fees and a three-month extension on reimbursements to AAI. The decisions were made by the AAI board on 19 June 2020.

The Adani Group had signed concession agreements for the three airports on 14 February 2020 and was supposed to take over commercial operations by 12 August 2020. But in March 2020, it asked for an extension, citing the acute impact of the Coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdown on aviation business.

Adani Group had in February 2019 won bids to also privatise six airports including Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram. It hasn't signed concession agreements for the latter three yet.

The Adani Group had asked for a six-month moratorium on concession fee from the day it takes over the airport. AAI’s board rejected it reasoning that it isn’t a fixed amount but depends on the number of passengers. It said the concessionaire (Adani Group) will have to pay a lesser concession fees because of lower passenger turnout and vice versa.

AAI has also rejected a plea from Adani Group for extension of reimbursements to AAI on some expenses the state-run airport operator will incur till it hands over commercial operations of the airport.

Adani Group owes AAI asset transfer fees of Rs 2,000 crore for six airports, roughly half of which is for Ahmedabad, Lucknow and Mangaluru.

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