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Mumbai Aiport directs Air India to evacuate non-operational land

Mumbai Aiport directs Air India to evacuate non-operational land

The Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), owned by the Adani group, has sent a notice to Air India requesting that it surrender property that is not essential to its operations. The airline’s four employee colonies, which accommodate 1,600 families, are included in this figure.

The notice was delivered on March 11, less than a month after Tata Sons took control of the airline.

It requested that Air India evaluate its use of airport land, engage in licence agreements with its former ground handling and engineering businesses on an arm’s length basis, and relinquish the remaining land and space to MIAL.

The airline has 45 days to comply with MIAL’s demands. The notice stated that if theairline and its personnel do not comply, it would have no choice but to prohibit them from visiting and using the concerned airport land and premises.

Mumbai Airport’s decision has drew the attention of political parties ahead of this year’s municipal elections.

Gajanan Kirtikar, a Shiv Sena MP, extended his party’s assistance to Air India employees battling eviction from their houses on Sunday.

On the issue, Kirtikar said that his party was prepared to protest against the Adani group. Former NCP member Vidya Chavan has asked the Maharashtra government to intervene.

According to MIAL, Air India is using nearly 750,000 sq m of airport land in Mumbai’s Kalina and Sahar regions.

It includes offices, hangars, cargo warehouses, a ramp operation office, housing colonies, a sports club, along with built and undeveloped area utilised for ground service equipment parking.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) had granted Air India and the former Indian Airlines land leases. Though, these licences eventually expired.

Arrangements to finalise deals with Air India following the expiration of licences fell through, and the airline continued to pay discounted rates until the tariffs revision in 2018.

In 2006, MIAL took over the airport’s operations. Similarly, the airline continues to rent space at airport terminals at low prices and that no licence agreement has been signed.

According to the media sources, MIAL stated in its notice that it started conversations with Air India and the civil aviation ministry for the surrender of airport land from time to time.

Despite Air India’s offer to surrender multiple parcels of airport land and spaces (including the housing complexes property), negotiations remained inconclusive.

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