Airport Authority of India (AAI) employees have started a three day relay hunger strike protesting against the government move to privatize 6 air-ports in the country. The call was given by the Joint Forum of AAI Employees which is forum of the unions of AAI.
The government move to privatize the airports at Chennai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Lucknow will mean that most of the profit making airports will be with the private companies. The Airport authority has modernised all these airports recently with much expenditure. The modernisation of Chennai and Kolkata alone had cost the AAI Rs. 2015 crore and Rs. 2325 crore respectively.
It is to be noted in this connection that the AAI staff in the airports at New Delhi and Mumbai are yet to be re-deployed after the privatisation of these two airports years back.Our complete support and solidarity to the AAI employees on their fully justified strike. We demand the government to drop the unjustified privatisation of the airports.
In September the government had decided to allow private firms to pick up 100% equity stake in operation and management of the six airports through the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
The government's move to privatise the airports have received severe criticism from several quarters, including airlines and their global representative body, International Air Transport Association (IATA), primarily on the grounds that it would lead to massive hike in airport costs and charges.