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Mumbai international airport may see change in service provider

Bombay high court rejects plea filed against new qualifying criteria imposed by Airports Authority of India

mumbai Updated: Feb 20, 2018 00:36 IST
Kanchan Chaudhari
Kanchan Chaudhari
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,airport
The Airport Service Provider’s Aossiciation said the AAI’s new criteria were designed to keep Indian service providers out of the bidding. (HT)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at Mumbai may see a change in airport service provider, as the Bombay high court recently rejected plea of the Airport Service Provider’s Association challenging the new qualifying criteria imposed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) alleging that the new criteria were designed to keep the Indian airport service providers out of the bidding process and pave the way for foreign players in the field.

The petitioner body contended that three conditions imposed by the AAI for appointment of airport service provider’s appointment were unjust and unreasonable and had “no nexus with the object sought to be achieved” and therefore liable to be struck down.

It further argued that the conditions — furnishing performance guarantee of Rs100 crore, technical experience of handling minimum 10 million passengers and the turnover of Rs75 crore from ground handling business — were nothing but instruments to keep the local service providers out of reckoning.

The division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice Bharati Dangre rejected the contentions, observing that the conditions had a clear nexus with the object sought to be achieved by imposing them.

The bench said the condition of having handled minimum 10 million passengers in aggregate at international airports was not unreasonable or unjust given the passenger traffic at the international airport at Mumbai, where even domestic airlines have their operations. It said, condition as regards turnover was required in order to ensure financial stability of the bidder and the insistence of performance guarantee of Rs100 crore would ensure the best participate in the bidding process and then provide services of the requisite quality.

The judges said “competitive bidding is undertaken so that the services to the passengers do not fall below the international standards.” “In these circumstances, we do not see anything unreasonable, unfair or unjust in the terms and conditions,” they added while rejecting the petition.

The bench refused to interfere with the conditions imposed by the AAI saying, entertaining this petition would mean sitting in judgment over wisdom of the authorities in inserting these conditions and their necessity.” “That is not an exercise that we can undertake in writ jurisdiction.”

First Published: Feb 20, 2018 00:36 IST