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As many as 11 companies have evinced interest in taking up the operation and maintenance of Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports, the contracts for which are expected to be awarded by May-end. The two aerodromes are owned by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The national airports operators is looking for a "strategic partner" for Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of the two aerodromes. A total of 11 companies participated in the pre-bid conference, with respect to the two airports, organised by the AAI on March 7, a senior official said. All the 11 entities are interested in bidding for Ahmedabad airport while six of them are also interested in Jaipur aerodrome. "We expect good response from the bidders.
The contract for the two airports are most likely to be awarded by the end of May," the official said. Unlike the normal practice of two-stage bidding process wherein technical bids are to be submitted first and then the financial bids, the AAI would be going for single bid. Having a single bid rather than inviting technical and financial bids separately is expected to help in getting better pricing, the official said. In the past also, AAI had proposed to handover these two airports to private players but had to shelve the plan due to manpower and revenue sharing issues. The AAI had invited Request for Proposal (RFP) from bidders for operation and maintenance of "select areas" of the Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports late last year. The select areas include passenger terminal building, passenger boarding bridges and apron area, among others, as per the bid document. "... Under no circumstances, shall the same bidder, whether individually or as part of a consortium, be awarded" the contracts for both airports, the document said. In January, AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohaptara had said it plans to partially privatise Ahmedabad and Jaipur airports. Under the plan, which would also involve relocation of workforce and equipment, the terminal operations at the two airports would be handed over to private players, he had said. Last year, AAI had rejected twice Singapore's Changi Airport's proposal to operate and maintain Jaipur and Ahmedabad airports on the grounds that it was "unfeasible" and not commercially viable for the government airport operator. The proposal to rope in Singapore's Changi airport for the projects was first floated during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the island nation in November 2015.
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