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India opens up airport sector, invites bidders for two PPPs

The country is showing goodwill after scrapping a tie-up with Singapore’s Changi Airport last year, which led it to relax foreign takeover rules.

The Airports Authority of India is inviting bidders for the operations and maintenance contracts of two international hubs under a PPP model.

The authority said it wishes to receive electronic bids from “world-renowned airport operators” for Jaipur International Airport in the state of Rajasthan and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Gujarat.

The concessionaires are expected to run and maintain areas including passenger terminal buildings, car parks, apron areas and associated facilities.

The authority expects to hold pre-bid meetings on the two projects next month, with the bid submission due date set on 8 March 2017. The projects are expected to be awarded the same month.

In late 2015, the AAI signed a memorandum of understanding with Changi Airport that would have seen the Singaporean group operate the two hubs. It later rejected the company’s proposal on the ground that it was “unfeasible”, according to local reports.

Last June, the Indian government relaxed foreign investment rules to allow for the full ownership of the country’s brownfield airports, in a bid to modernise existing hubs.

While most Indian airports are owned by the AAI, four major hubs currently belong to two local conglomerates, GMR Group and GVK Group. GMR won another greenfield airport PPP last August, set to become its third airport in the country.