GMR Group wins Indian airport PPP

The Indian infrastructure conglomerate is set to develop and operate its third airport in the country.

GMR Airports, a subsidiary of India’s GMR Infrastructure, has won the right to develop and operate Mopa Greenfield airport in North Goa, on the western coast of India. 

The project will be developed under the BOT model with a 40-year concession period, with a possible 20-year extension through another bid process. 

GMR emerged as the highest bidder in a process that also saw offers submitted by Airports Authority of India and an Essel-Incheon consortium. Two other groups, including India’s GVK Group and the Hiranandani-Vinci consortium, reached the prequalification stage but decided not to participate in the final bidding round. 

Total project investment is estimated at between INR27 billion($404 million; €361 million) and INR30 billion at current costs, according to a GMR Infrastructure spokesperson. Phase one would account for 55-65 percent of the total cost. The airport is expected to become operational in 2019. 

GMR said the regulatory regime for the concession will be 'hybrid till', with a 30 percent cross subsidy. The project offers 232 acres of land for commercial development for a period of 60 years. 

“The bid win reinforces GMR Group’s credentials as the largest airport developer and operator in India and one of the top five private airport developers across the world,” said Srinivas Bommidala, chairman of GMR Airports.
The letter of award is expected to be issued within 60 days, with the concession agreement to be signed within 45 days from the letter issuance date. 

GMR Group owns and operates Delhi and Hyderabad airports. It also developed Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport, and has teamed up with Megawide Construction Corporation to jointly develop Mactan Cebu International Airport in the Philippines. 

India's airport sector is largely controlled by the state-owned Airports Authority of India, with local conglomerates owning just four international hubs. Apart from GMR Group, GVK Group also runs Mumbai and Bengaluru airports. 

Earlier in June, the Indian government decided to allow full foreign ownership of brownfield airports in a bid to modernise existing hubs.