Centre soon to take view on Kerala govt bid to run T'puram airport

A private player has already won a bid to operate the Thiruvananthapuram international airport but the central government will take a view on the second bidder, Kerala government, in the coming days, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

The cabinet has approved privatisation of six airports including one in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, he said during the Question Hour in the Upper House.

"This is privatisation (of Thiruvananthapuram airport). One private bidder has got it and then the Kerala government is apparently a second bidder. We have to examine that bid. I have seen a communication from chief minister of Kerala and we will be taking a view on this in the coming days," Puri said.

To a query by PDP MP from Jammu and Kashmir Nazir Ahmed Laway on steep rise in airfare during the pilgrimage period in the hill state, the minister said: "Jammu and Kashmir, which is an integral part of India, is no different from anywhere so far as airfares are concerned."

He said airfares are fixed by airlines on a competitive basis. For instance, the fare may range from Rs 5000 to Rs 40,000.

"If you book in advance, you can book at Rs 5000. If some seats are left in the end and nobody is taking, then they will sell at Rs 5000. If two seats are left and then they sell at Rs 40,000. That's what airlines claim," he added.

"We have often in the past considered the possibility of putting a cap. If we put a cap, our danger is that airlines may charge higher amount. This is a competitive system which is operational all over the world," Puri explained.