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DLF dreams airports again

May 12, 2006 11:06 IST
Delhi-based real estate developer DLF Ltd is preparing to once again join the fray for airport modernisation projects.

This time, it is likely to participate in the bidding process with Laing O'Rourke, a construction-cum-infrastructure company of the UK. The two have a 50-50 joint venture for future projects.

DLF Universal had tied up with the Malaysian Airports Holding to bid for the Delhi airport privatisation in July 2004. But the joint venture wasterminated in April 2005.

Subsequently, DLF joined the consortium led by Bharti-Changi to pursue its ambition of modernising airports. However, this group also decided to not to bid for modernising the airport as Changi Airport felt that some of the conditions in the bidding was too rigid.

"We will definitely bid together for modernisation of the Kolkata and Chennai airports," said Dhiraj Singh, country head, Laing O'Rourke.

A DLF spokesperson too confirmed it.

Singh added that DLF- Laing O'Rourke was on the 'lookout for an airport operator". The government regulation requires that a foreign airport operator be part of every consortium bidding for modernisation of airports.

The tenders for the modernisation of the projects is expected to come out in a month's time.

Airport modernisation contracts have emerged as big business opportunities for private companies. The government, having recently awarded the contracts for Delhi and Mumbai to GMR and GVK led consortiums respectively, is expected to take a decision soon on the modernisation of Kolkata and Chennai airports.

Besides, 35 non-metro airports are likely to come up for modernisation contracts. According to government officials, the modernisation of all these 37 airports should be complete in five to seven years.

DLF-Laing O'Rourke will take a decision on the 35 non-metro airports on a case by case basis. Singh said that the joint venture company should be the major player in the project with a build-operate-transfer option.

Other determining parameters could be the level of procurement, such as a design and build lease. DLF- Laing O'Rourke would also be considering those projects that are funded by the Airport Authority of India.

Laing O'Rourke is one of the principal contractors in the construction of Terminal Five at London's Heathrow airport, which is expected to be operational by March 2008.

Singh added that value additions in the modernisation of airports would also appeal to DLF- Laing O'Rourke.

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