Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has recently announced that 12 airports in the country will be auctioned under the public-private partnership (PPP) model.

In the first round of bidding, Airport Authority of India (AAI) awarded three of the first six airports for operation and maintenance under the PPP model.

Sitharaman said, “More World-class Airports through PPP (Public Private Partnership) model will be made in India. In this mission, another 6 airports will be put out for the third round of bidding.”

“Also, an additional investment of INR 13,000 crore will be made by private players in 12 airports auctioned in first and second rounds. This will bring in optimal utilisation of airspace and reduce fuel costs and flying time,” she added.

In a tweet, Press Information Bureau said that the six airports in the first round brought about an annual revenue of INR 1000 crores.

Sitharaman, while announcing the fourth tranche of the INR 20 lakh crore stimulus package, also informed that the restrictions on utilization of Indian air space will be eased so that civilian flying becomes more efficient.

The FM said, “Only 60 per cent of Indian airspace is freely available. More air space availability would reduce travel time and save on fuel. This will bring a total benefit of INR 1,000 crores per year for the aviation sector.” 

She also informed that the regime for aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) has also been rationalised. Aircraft component repair and airframe maintenance are expected to increase from INR 800 crore to INR 2,000 crore in three years.

According to an official, the 6 airports that have been identified for bidding in the first phase are at Amritsar, Varanasi, Bhubaneswar, Indore, Raipur and Trichy.

Last year, the government bid out six airports – Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram and Guwahati – for operation, management and development through PPP model.