The Adani Group on Monday started the "Observation Period" at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International (LGBI) airport in Guwahati as part of its mandate to take over northeast India's main airport by October. This follows the take over of Mumbai airport last month by the group.

An Airport Authority of India (AAI) official said that a nine-member team of the Adani Airport Holding Ltd (AAHL) led by Chief Airport Officer Utpal Baruah, an aviation industry expert, on Monday formally started the "Observation Period".  As per the agreement with the Centre, existing AAI personnel would support the company for a period of three years, said the AAI official, on condition of anonymity.

mumbai airport
Adani group takes over Mumbai airportReuters

Land near the airport had also been given to the AAHL on a lease for 50 years in a bid to develop aviation-related business and related services.

In 2018, the Central government leased out six AAI airports -- Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Thiruvananthapuram, and Mangaluru -- for operation, management and development under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model.

"The Centre took the decision to enhance the revenue of the AAI and augment the economic development in these areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure," the AAI official told IANS. The Adani group had emerged as the successful bidder for all the six airports.

Meanwhile, Arunachal Chief Minister Pema Khandu called on Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia in New Delhi and requested Scindia to consider the development of Advance Landing Grounds in the state's airports.

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani
Indian billionaire Gautam AdaniReuters

"Besides pleading for conducting a feasibility inspection of ALG Tuting and Mechuka for fixed-wing operation, the CM reiterated for starting of fixed-wing flight operation at Pasighat and Tezu airports on priority basis," the official said.

Air connectivity in hill areas

The CMO official said that the CM briefed Scindia about the progress of work on Holongi Airport near Itanagar on a war footing to be made operational by the next year. The AAI has undertaken a Rs 650 crore project to develop the airport to boost air connectivity in the mountainous areas.

Currently, there are 15 airports in the northeast region -- Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur, Lilalabari and Rupsi (Assam), Tezu and Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Agartala (Tripura), Imphal (Manipur), Shillong (Meghalaya), Dimapur (Nagaland), Lengpui (Mizoram), and Pakyong (Sikkim).

(With inputs from IANS)