Malaysian government-owned Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad and the Kerala government are looking at taking a stake in KGS Aranmula International Airport Ltd, which is being developed by the Anil Ambani-backed KGS Group.
The Rs 2,000-crore private airport is being set up on 700 acres at the temple town of Aranmula in Pathanamthitta district, the pilgrimage capital of the state situated between Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. The project is expected to take off in 2014.
“We had some discussions on offering equity to Malaysia Airports. They are already our technical and strategic partner for the project. We may look at diluting up to 15 per cent,” said Gigi George, managing director of the KGS Group here.
Malaysia Airports operates and manage 39 airports in Malaysia. Besides, they provide airport management services for Delhi and Hyderabad international airports in India and Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Turkey.
The holding company, Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), was incorporated as a public limited company in November 1999.
Industry sources said the Kerala government was also keen on taking around 10 per cent stake in the company. However, George refused to comment on the same.
The project is being funded through equity and debt. The equity portion accounts for around Rs 1,000 crore. “The debt-equity ratio is 1:1. Three banks including ICICI, IDBI and SBI have funded the debt portion,” said George.
The airport will be privately-owned and managed and would handled 1,000 passengers at a time. This aeropolis is being developed along with a special economic zone, multi-specialty hospital, shopping mall, star hotels and an international school.
“We have already acquired land for the project and the airport is designed to cater to aircraft like Airbus A-320 and Boeing 747,” said George.
The project will generate direct employment to 1,500 people and indirect jobs for 6,000.
The airport is also one hour drive from Sabarimala, the second largest pilgrim centre in India with annual pilgrims of around 60 millions.
Majority of the NRI and NRK passengers of Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi airports originate within 50 km radius of this site.