MAHB bids for Indian airport job


  • Business
  • Thursday, 21 Oct 2004

BY IZWAN IDRIS

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) and its Indian joint-venture partner, DLS Group, are jointly bidding to redevelop and operate New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport. 

”We submitted our tender in August,’’ MAHB managing director and chief executive officer Datuk Bashir Ahmad said at an international airport managers’ conference in Lisbon, Portugal, last week. 

Datuk Bashir Ahmad

Bashir said MAHB planned to take 10% equity stake in the airport, one of India’s main international gateways, which had been earmarked for privatisation by the government. 

He said the company was keen to expand its overseas investments and business operations, especially in India, following its participation in the international airport being built in Hyderabad. 

MAHB has an 11% stake in Hyderabad International Airport Ltd, which owns and will operate the new airport, due for completion in 2007. 

“Overseas ventures will be a new source of income for the group in the longer term,’’ Bashir said. 

MAHB senior general manager Datuk Hamid Ali said that at least 10 international consortiums were believed to have submitted bids for the pre-qualification process for the New Delhi airport modernisation and privatisation. 

“We have been advised by our local partner that the Indian government is expected to make a decision by the end of the year,’’ he said. 

He added that the group was confident of its chances of advancing to the next stage, where successful bidders would be required to make detailed proposals. The New Delhi airport, with two runways and three terminals, is sited on 5,000 acres. 

According to international press reports, the Indian government is planning to privatise the country’s two main international gateways, New Delhi and Bombay, selling as much as a 74% stake in the two government-run airports, although this has not yet been finalised. 

Under the privatisation plan, joint-venture companies will operate the airports on long-term lease, while the authorities will remain responsible for security and air traffic control. 

The two airports handle about two-thirds of India’s international passenger traffic. The New Delhi airport handles nine million travellers a year, and Bombay airport 11 million. 

According to a recent industry newsletter, the Airports Authority of India, which owns and operates 125 airports in the country, has opened a tender due by Nov 10 for a contract to modify and extend the carpark facilities at the New Delhi airport. 

Also, trials began last week on 16 new passport readers at the New Delhi airport which will reduce verification time from several minutes to just 25 seconds. 

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