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The Adani Group might participate in the forthcoming airport auction using the public-private partnership concept.

The Adani Group may join the upcoming auction of airports in the public-private partnership model, a top executive said.

“We are waiting for government guidelines to come out like everyone else. The speculation is that there will be 11 airports which will be bid this time and we will look at terms and conditions of the RFQ (request for qualification) and accordingly, we will make a decision if there is any property which is of value for us and if we can make contribution for the country through that airport,” Adani Airports Holding Ltd chief executive officer Arun Bansal said in an interview.

In February 2019, the Gautam Adani-led group won bids for six AAI airports, including Lucknow, Mangaluru, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram. The group pays the Airports Authority of India (AAI), a state-owned enterprise a per-passenger charge. The group is responsible for operating, managing, and developing airports across 50 years.

“Our number one priority is t“Our number one priority is that the consumer experience at our seven airports is best in class. The second ambition is regarding the expansion of all the airport projects, terminals and that we take digitization of the airports to the next level. We are talking about Airport 4.0, which is utilizing artificial intelligence, machine learning, implementing automation of our operations centre, passenger flow automation, digitization,” Bansal said.

The Adani Group acquired a 74% stake in Mumbai’s international airport in July 2021 by picking up GVK Group’s 50.5% stake and a 23.5% stake from ACSA Global Ltd and Bid Services Division (Mauritius) Ltd (Bidvest). As a result, the group also get to build and operate the Navi Mumbai airport.

“The second part of our ambition is to ensure that we deliver Navi Mumbai’s new airport on time, which is supposed to go in operations by December 2024,” he added.

Airports operated by the ports-to-energy conglomerate account for over 20% of India’s domestic and international aircraft traffic, with Mumbai leading with more than 10%. The GMR-run Delhi airport is the largest and busiest airport in the country with a share of over 15%. Adani Group-run airports handle nearly 30% of freight across airports.

A major goal of Adani group is to leverage city-side development and turn airports into destination magnets, especially for city dwellers and non-passengers. This integrated real estate development is expected to involve facilities across retail, healthcare, entertainment and mixed-use developments.

“Airport cities or city-side development is a fundamental part of development for the identity of an airport. What we want to do with the city-side development is to give more value to the identity of an airport according to the local feelings of the people; so, we are definitely committed to build whatever is allowed under the AAI framework so we are committed to do that,” Bansal said.

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