Adani Airports has Rs 60,000-crore capex plan for next 10 years, says Karan Adani

"The current capacity of our airports is 10-11 crore passengers annually (CPA). This will be increased up to three times. Lucknow has a new terminal. Navi Mum

Karan Adani, MD of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone, said the Adani Group has lined up Rs 60,000 crore to expand the existing seven airports in its portfolio over the next 5-10 years.

Adani Airports Holdings (AAHL) CEO Arun Bansal said Rs 30,000 crore will be spent on the ' airside' in the next five years, while the rest will be allocated to the cityside' in the next five to 10 years at its seven existing airports in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Mangaluru, Guwahati, Jaipur, and Thiruvananthapuram.

The capital expenditure (capex) of Rs 60,000 crore does not include Rs 18,000 crore allocated for the Phase-I development of the Navi Mumbai airport, scheduled to commence operations by March 2025, Bansal said.

Bansal and Karan Adani spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the inauguration of the new terminal at the Lucknow airport on March 10, which was built for Rs 2,400 crore. This will be able to handle 80 million passengers a year.

"The current capacity of our airports is 10-11 crore passengers annually (CPA). This will be increased up to three times. Lucknow has a new terminal. Navi Mumbai will open soon (next March). Then Guwahati airport will get a new terminal. "We are planning new terminals for Ahmedabad and Jaipur also. Overall, we are looking at a combined capacity of 25 to 30 CPA by 2040." Karan Adani said.

These investments will be funded through internal accruals of parent company Adani Enterprises Ltd and the group has not made any firm plans to list the company's airport subsidiary, Adani Airport Holdings Limited, on the stock market, he added.

He declined to comment on reports of a USD 2.6-billion fund-raise by the group for its airport and green hydrogen businesses.

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The priority is to operationalize the Navi Mumbai airport and start developing the urban side of the airports, Bansal said, adding that the group would consider an initial public offering for the business later. “Internationally, our strategy is to participate in (airport development) opportunities where it makes sense for the group... where there are more opportunities in the country to participate in ports, transportation, etc. "We are looking at a specific country at the moment."

He added that the group's planning is based "on how we see it in 2033-2035 and not next year because that's how the capital expenditure cycle is based."

As part of the strategy to meet the growing demand, the Adani Group plans to double its airport capacity by 2040.

"This capacity forecast may look big for now but our philosophy is to create the infrastructure for the future so we don't catch up," Bansal added.

The capacity will be grown in a phased manner. For example, the new Lucknow airport terminal currently has a capacity of 8 million passengers per year, which will be increased to 13 million in the next phase and then to 38 million per year in 2035.

The group is also focusing on the development of the urban part of the airports, which will increase its additional income. It will be developed on 160 acres in Mumbai, 100 acres in Lucknow, 200 acres in Navi Mumbai, 17 acres in Jaipur, and 2 acres in Thiruvananthapuram.

The land located on the urban side of these airports will be developed to house companies related to the aeronautical sector, such as hotels, airline offices, etc.

Explaining the airport's business strategy, Adani added that the group sees airports in smaller cities becoming hubs for international travelers.

"We hope the metros will bypass the hubs and provide commuters with direct connectivity across the world. Their connectivity within the country will also improve," he said.

Big metros serve as hubs for direct international connectivity out of India to distant continents. Tier II cities are connected to nearby metros, from where passengers take connecting flights to the rest of the world.

The Adani group won the rights to operate six airports (Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangalore) in 2019. In 2021, it acquired the Mumbai airport and the upcoming Navi Mumbai airport from the GVK group. With eight airports, the group is set to develop capacity to handle 250-300 million passengers by 2040. This is more than the 73 million of the seven currently in operation, Adani Airport Holdings CEO Arun Bansal said.

On March 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the airport projects worth Rs 9,800 crore from Azamgarh in UP.

These include new terminals at Pune, Kolhapur, Gwalior, Jabalpur, Delhi, Lucknow, Aligarh, Azamgarh, Chitrakoot, Moradabad, Shravasti and Adampur airports. He laid the foundation stone of the new terminal buildings of Kadapa, Hubballi, and Belagavi airports.

Also Read: IndiGo Co-founder Rakesh Gangwal sells stake worth over Rs 7,000 crore in block deal: Report

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