Will resist attempt to hand over Thiruvananthapuram airport to Adani Group: Kerala CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An unrelenting Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the state assembly on Thursday that the state government would continue to resist the Union government’s move to hand over management of Thiruvananthapuram international airport to the Adani Group.

“No authority can take away the airport and hand it over to a private player by ignoring the opinion and demand of the state government. No private player can manage or develop the airport without the cooperation and support of the state government. We have raised the issue several times and I would personally appraise the issue and clarify the state government’s stand to PM Narendra Modi on June 15 when I visit New Delhi to attend the Niti Aayog meeting,” Vijayan told the House.

The Airports Authority of India had decided to hand over operation and management of six airports to private players as part of policy; Thiruvananthapuram airport was among them. Eventually, bids were invited and the Adani Group emerged at the top, beating the state government-sponsored KSIDC and another private entity, GMR. The bids were opened in February 2019.

The state government had apprised the Union government and Union civil aviation minister in 2018 itself about the state government’s opinion against handing over the airport to any private player. Our demand for “right to first refusal” was not accepted as such. The bid submitted by KSIDC was rejected on the pretext that an over 10% difference in passenger use fee could not be entertained, he said.

The state government, the CM said, would take all possible steps to resist the move to hand over management and future development of the profit-making airport to a private company with no experience in airport management. “No private agency would be able to manage the airport without the support of the state government,” he said.

Source: Times of India