Sai Baba’s airport up for sale
S Kalyana Ramanathan / Chennai October 31, 2007
The airport’s owner, the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, which manages the religious and philanthropic assets and work of Sri Sathya Sai Baba, has invited bids for it and put the floor price at Rs 600 crore.
One big attraction of this airport is that it is only 70 km from Bangalore International Airport, coming up in Devanahalli. The vantage location will allow airlines to feed the southern sector, which currently has 30 major and minor airports.
The other is that, to sweeten the deal, the Trust is throwing in 2,000 acres of adjoining land.
The additional land could be used either for real estate development or for setting up a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility.
The airport is spread over 450 acres. Its runway is 2,230 metres long and currently being used mostly by chartered aircraft. Of late, Kingfisher and Indian have been using this airport as a stopover for their Hyderabad-Visakhapatnam services.
The buzz in the industry is that G R Gopinath, who pioneered low-cost flying in India with Air Deccan, has tied up with a Mumbai-based public figure to put in a bid. Gopinath, however, has denied reports.
Besides, the buzz was not clear whether Gopinath, were he to bid, would do so through Deccan or on his own.
It is being said that Dubai-based real estate developer Limitless LLC could also be in the fray. Limitless is an integrated real estate development company and a business unit of Dubai World, one of Dubai’s leading business groups.