Dear fellow citizens,
Government is planning to handover Chennai, Kolkatta, Lucknow, Ahmadabad, Jaipur and Guwahathi airports to private operators. They are in a hurry to handover these assets before the coming elections without due consultations with travelling public & people of India who are the users and current owners of these assets.

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In 2006 when Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad airports were privatized, they were the highest revenue and profits earning airports. Soon after they were privatized, the user fees in these airports were hiked exorbitantly to ensure hefty profits for the new private operators. They also raised the charges multifold for landing, parking and other services to the airlines. Both the above hikes are ultimately being paid by our passengers. Delhi airport charges travelers about Rs. 860 for domestic departures and over 2000 Rs for international departures. Even arriving passengers are not spared from these fees. Mumbai charges Rs.618 and Rs.1453 for domestic and international departures respectively. These charges are most likely to go up in the coming years. Compared to this, Airports under AAI virtually charge nothing and running profitably. According to IATA, after privatization Delhi has become one of the costliest airports in the world today.

Privatization of these airports has been one of the factors that dealt a blow to the low cost airlines.
When Delhi and other airports were handed over to the private parties, besides valuable modern technological equipments and instruments, thousands of acres of lands were also handed over to these operators. On these lands acquired free of cost, they are constructing five star hotels and making lakhs of crores of profits. As per the most conservative estimates of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), of the land handed over in Delhi just 240 acres alone would fetch over Rs. 1,63,557 crores during the lease period for the private parties! This is a terrible loss to the people of India. Chennai airport has over 2000 acres of land. This is being eyed by the contestants for the Airport. These were the lands that were once forcibly acquired in the name of “public cause” from poor peasants and land holders!

Besides handing over our precious assets to private parties, we are also further paying by way of higher fees to fatten them. Do the passengers and people of India to suffer the consequences of this decision in favour of vested interests? What is the necessity to hand over these airports after pumping in our tax money of over 5000 crores for modernizing them? If the corrupt politicians have their way, then airports privatization would be the next biggest scandal after 2G and Coalgate. This move would also ruin the livelihood of the thousands of staff who are currently working in these airports.

This is not to say that the services in these airports do not need improvements. As such many of the services under AAI are already being executed by contractors and private parties under the patronage of those in power. No wonder that they care least to the needs and welfare of travelling public. Solution lies in bringing all these airports and services under close control of passengers, employees and oversight team to ensure best services are provided to the real needs of the passengers.

As enlightened citizens of India, we need to question the unfair moves of the government. Let us not keep silent and watch vested interests maul our rights and interests. Let us convey our strong objections to the ministry of civil aviation and take bold steps to stop this anti-national program!

Airports Authority Employees’ Union (Regd No 3515 & Recognized)

Lokraj Sangathan (Mobile 7598069667, 9818575435), Website: www.lokraj.org.in, email : info@Lokraj.org.in

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