Airport leasing agreement signed
| DATE: 2010-06-28 | PRINT | Share

From right to left, Malaysia Airports MD, GMR MD, Finance Minister and new MACL Chairman celebrate after signing the agreement

MALE, June 28, 2010 (HNS) - Government has signed the agreement with India's GMR Infrastructure Monday to lease Male International Airport for 25 years.

The government's move come hours after the parliament passed an amendment to the Public Finance Act, which specifies that state assets could only be leased or sold in accordance with a law passed by the parliament.

In a special function held at President's Office Monday afternoon, Finance Minister Ali Hashim, Maldives Airports Company Limited's (MACL) new Chairman Ibrahim 'Kuda Bandhey' Saleem, Managing Director of GMR Sri Pathi and Malaysia Airports' Managing Director Basheer Ahmed signed the agreement.

Haveeru has also learnt that the government changed four members of MACL Directors Board Monday. The changes come hours after disputes surfaced among the company’s Directors Board members. Details of the changes and the new appointments, however, are yet to be disclosed. Saleem also chairs the Directors Board of Maldives Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).

GMR won the bid through a consortium formed with Malaysia Airports Holdings. The company will take over the operations of the airport commencing from March 2011.

Speaking at the function, Sri Pathi stressed that the airport would still belong to Maldivians.

He told Haveeru that the company could not run the airport without tourism industry and assured the public that it would not take a measure that might affect the industry.

"Do you think we will be able to run the airport without tourists coming to Maldives? What people are saying is not true. We can also run the airport by bringing in tourists," Sri Pathi said.

Developing a new terminal and other investments would be completed by 2014, he added.

Basheer said the company has been working with GMR for seven years and added that Male International Airport would be the consortium's fourth airport.

When asked about the amendment passed by the parliament, Privatisation Committee Chair, also the Civil Aviation Minister Mahmood Raazee said the government's decision was based on legal advice received in accordance with the laws in effect currently.

According to GMR, the company would register a separate local company to manage the airport. Malaysia Airports' Holdings would run the airport, it added.

The consortium formed between GMR and Malaysia Airports proposed to pay US$78 million (almost Rf1 billion) upfront, one percent of the total profit in the first year (until 2014) and 10 percent of the profit from 2015 to 2035. The company also agreed to pay 15 percent of fuel trade revenues in the first four years and 27 percent from 2015 to 2035. The government also revealed that GMR would invest US$400 million for building, modernising, and expanding the airport.

The President's Office also revealed on Sunday that GMR would take a service charge of US$25 per passenger once it takes over the airport.

Raazee further said GMR would pay US$2.5 million annually to the government as an agreement fee.

Officials of GMR and Malaysia Airports left the place immediately after the signing. But Raazee said they will speak to journalists later.
Ahmed ( Airport )
2010-06-29 09:27:11
Good luck Ali Hashim and Razee. Duty Free rent free for 25years. Marhabaaa