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LGBI Airport up for privatization!

STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, May 14: The profit-making Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) Airport, Guwahati is up for privatization! Despite air transport in the Northeast and Jammu & Kashmir being a priority area, the BJP government at the Centre is reportedly contemplating on privatizing the only international in the Northeast.
The LGBI Airport at Borjhar will be among eight airports in the country which the Centre has planned for complete privatization. The Airports Authority of India is currently running the LGBI Airport. The airports in Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Lucknow are seven others in the list up for privatization.
Sources told The Sentinel that the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation is having discussions on designing the model as to how the airports will be bid out. The airports, according to sources, are likely to be bid out for 30 years and tariffs will be fixed upfront.
Under the two models being examined, one is a forward bidding process based on tariff per passenger. Private players will bid on fee per passenger it will share with the Airports Authority of India. The player that quotes the highest figure will be chosen. The landing and user charges an operator will set during the concession period will be fixed upfront by the Aviation Ministry.
The other model being considered is a reverse-bidding model — essentially a tariff-based bidding. A bidder who quotes the lowest landing and user charges will emerge winner. In this case, the revenue to be shared with the AAI will be fixed upfront.
In January this year the foundation stone of Rs 1,232-crore international terminal in LGBI Airport at Borjhar was laid to cope with the growing passenger traffic in the Northeast. The airport has registered a 36 per cent increase in passenger traffic during 2016-17, more than the national average growth rate of 17.5 per cent. The new terminal will be ready for use by 2020 so as to let the airport cope with the growing number of passengers.

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Ankur Kalita