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Legal Implications of Airport Privatization in India

On Thursday 24 November 2016 Moses George will defend his PhD dissertation ‘Legal Implications of Airport Privatization in India’. The defence will commence at 11.15 hrs, in the Academy Building of Leiden University. The Supervisors are Professor Pablo Mendes De Leon and Professor Brian F. Havel (DePaul University, Chicago, USA).

The air transport sector including airlines, airports and providers of air navigation services used to be largely state controlled and most airlines were state-owned. However, the ownership pattern of airlines has changed gradually due to the majority of the airlines being privately owned as a result of the globalization and liberalization of economies.

These observations can be made in the case of airports too. State-owned airports are being privatized in many states for various reasons. The trend started with the privatization of the British Airports Authority (BAA) which owns airports in the United Kingdom (UK). Europe, Asia and Latin America are now witnessing the privatization of airports on a fast track basis.  Australia and New Zealand have also privatized their state-owned airports in the last decade. Though the models vary depending upon the economic policy of a state, the concept of privatization or private participation in airport infrastructure is gaining momentum in these states. The United States of America (USA), however, remains an exception to this trend in airport privatization.

In 2006, India followed the global trend of the privatization in airport infrastructure, by privatizing two state-owned airports in New Delhi and Mumbai. Two other private airports were operationalized in Bangalore and Hyderabad only in 2008.

It is important to study the perspectives of different states towards airport privatization so that the international perspectives drawn from these experiences are more informative and better shaped. It is particularly essential to study the experiences in Indian concerning airport privatization as India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world and this will contribute to a better understanding of the legal and other considerations pertaining to the privatization of airports across the globe. Privatization also impacts on the manner in which the responsibility of states  is perceived around the world. Therefore, this study deals with the experiences of privatization in various states in a comparative setup, with the focus on India.  These experiences, facets of privatization and proposed or implemented solutions are analysed in this study.

Many legal issues emerged as a result of the privatization of airports. Some of these legal issues are discussed in this thesis including competition, the emerging legal nature of the private airports, aerodrome certification, new charges and taxes introduced after privatization. The research attempts to analyse the result of the privatization of airports and to suggest possible remedies for the issues identified.

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