The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has decided to issue tax-free bonds worth Rs 1,000 crore in the current financial year to finance and develop small airports in the country. AAI's move comes days after the government's decision to construct 51 low-cost airports across the country. It would strengthen the financial position of AAI to build these airports,' AAI Chairman V P Aggarwal said in Delhi.
Those investing in these bonds, which normally have a long-term maturity plan like a decade, would get tax benefits. In this year's budget speech, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had said that state-run bodies like AAI could issue such bonds up to Rs 50,000 crore. Apart from the low-cost airports, construction rights for eight greenfield airports are likely to be awarded this year under public-private partnership (PPP) mode for Navi Mumbai, Juhu, Mopa (Goa), Kannur, Rajguru Nagar Chakan at Pune, Sriperumbudur, Bellary and Raigarh.
Of the 51 low-cost airports, AAI was planning to start work on 15 airports this calender year itself, he said, adding that an inter-ministerial group (IMG), set up for this purpose, has discussed the issue of appointing a consultant. The government had last week decided to set up the 51 airports to enhance air connectivity to small cities in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.