Airport revamp before C'wealth 2010
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Airport revamp before C'wealth 2010

"We expect everything to be finalised by end of this month," the civil aviation secretary said, commenting on bids.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 11:12 IST

The government expects Delhi airport to have at least two new runways and a modern terminal to cater to a projected six-fold jump in passenger traffic by 2010, Civil Aviation Secretary Ajay Prasad has said.

Despite the present hiccups, "By March 2010, we expect the first phase of the restructuring and modernisation of Delhi airport to be completed," Prasad told an hour-long interactive session.

"The bidders would also have to commit for completing the projects in a phase-wise manner," he emphasised.

"I don't want passengers and guests from international destinations to land at a construction site," he said, adding that the government was facing serious time constraint in the revamp of Delhi airport by the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Prasad said by the end of the first phase of revamp, the Indira Gandhi International Airport would have two parallel runways and an expanded passenger terminal "with the minimum facilities an international traveller expects."

The Indian civil aviation sector has to expand by at least 15 per cent per annum to sustain the country's ambitious growth plan and the ministry forecasts a six-fold growth in traffic by 2010 to 80 million from the present 13 million in the national capital alone, said Prasad.

He said the government has already lost valuable time due to controversy over the evaluation of the bids. "But we expect everything to be finalised by the end of this month," said the civil aviation secretary.

He said that an empowered group of ministers headed by Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee had asked Delhi Metro Rail Corp. managing director E Sreedharan to evaluate the technical bids of all the six companies that had participated for the revamp of Delhi and Mumbai airports.

Sreedharan was called in when questions were raised in the bidding process since out of six consortiums, only two - GMR Infrastructure Ltd and Reliance Airport Developers - made it to the final list of qualifiers.

The Delhi Metro chief, however, evaluated the bids of only two final bidders and downgraded Reliance out of the process.

The Mukherjee panel has now asked Sreedharan to apply the evaluation criteria and the matrix on all the remaining five bids - as GMR has already qualified - and hopes to take a final call on them when it meets again on Jan 24.

"Once the technical bids are evaluated and considered, we will examine them on financial grounds and the one that offers us the highest revenue would bag the contract," Prasad said.

The government first sought bids from local and overseas companies for a 74-per cent share each in the two airport projects in June 2004.

The plan was delayed for more than a year because of opposition from lawmakers, after which the government cut the amount of stake overseas investors can pick up to 49 per cent by amending the Airports Authority of India Act.

Six consortiums were in the race for the airport stakes after the withdrawal of Hochtief AG and Singapore Airport Changi Enterprises. While all the six bid for the Mumbai airport revamp, five of them were in the fray for the Delhi project.

The five bidders for Delhi airport included GMR in a tie-up with the operators of the Frankfurt airport, Fraport, and Reliance, which had submitted a bid with ASA Mexico.

The others in the fray were DS Construction that had a tie-up with Munich airport, Macquire that tied up with Airport de Paris, and the Essel Group in association with the Turkish airport operator TAV.

Apart from these five, the GVK group - that has a tie-up with the South African Airport - also contested for Mumbai.

First Published: Jan 19, 2006 11:12 IST