New Delhi, Dec 27 (PTI) The Kerala government can bid for operating and managing the Thiruvananthapuram airport at the time of leasing out the aerodrome, the Civil Aviation Ministry said Thursday.

The Centre’s decision to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram airport on public private partnership basis has been opposed by the Kerala government.

In November, the central government approved leasing out six airports for operation, management and development under public private partnership. These are Airports Authority of India (AAI) aerodromes at Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru.

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha told the Lok Sabha that the Kerala government can be a bidder for the Thiruvananthapuram airport.

To a query on whether the Kerala government has requested the Centre to re-consider the decision and allow forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to run the airport, Sinha replied in the affirmative.

“In response to the same, the government has offered State Government of Kerala to be one of the bidders,” the minister said.

Earlier this month, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan appealed to the Centre not to lease out the Thiruvananthapuram airport and requested it to entrust the aerodrome’s management with the state government.

The six airports are to be leased out through the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC).

“An Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) has been constituted under the chairmanship of CEO, NITI Aayog to decide on any issue falling beyond the scope of PPPAC,” Sinha said in the written reply.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.