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DIAL can commercially utilize airport land for non-aeronautical purposes: Delhi HC

LiveMint logoLiveMint 10-04-2017 Priyanka Mittal

New Delhi: The Delhi high court Monday ruled that Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) will be able to commercially utilize airport land for non-aeronautical purposes, even though last year’s National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) barred it from doing so.

NCAP 2016, which came into effect on 15 June last year, bars existing airports such as DIAL operating under the public-private partnership (PPP) model from commercially utilising their land for providing non-aeronautical services. The restriction is not applicable to future or upcoming PPP airports which would be run by the AAI. After making an unsuccessful representation with the government, DIAL moved court.

A division bench headed by chief justice G. Rohini disposed of the challenge brought by DIAL against excluding existing PPPs from the benefit of liberalization with regard to the end-use restrictions of the land. Accordingly, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has been directed to take necessary steps to extend the benefit of liberalized use of airport land under provisions of the 2016 aviation policy to DIAL.

The 41-page order held exclusion of PPP airports such as DIAL from availing of benefits under the policy to be ‘violative of Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution’.

DIAL had contended that it had written to the ministry in October 2016 to remove the exclusion, but the government had rejected its representation on the grounds that post-bid benefits could not be extended to existing PPP airports who had executed agreements with AAI. DIAL said that under its agreement with the government, it was entitled to use 5% of the total land for non-aeronautical services.

Under an agreement between AAI and DIAL, the two had agreed upon the terms and conditions upon which DIAL would operate, finance, develop, upgrade, manage and maintain Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA).

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