Biggest Indian Airport Firms Surge on Favorable Court Ruling

Indian airport operators surged after the country’s top court allowed them to use airport land for commercial purposes, rejecting the government’s objections.

Private airport operators can now take advantage of a new civil aviation policy unveiled last year that liberalized norms, allowing commercial use of airport land, a two-judge bench headed by J. Chelameswar ruled, upholding a previous lower court order. The government policy initially excluded existing operators.

GMR Infrastructure Ltd., which leads a consortium that operates the Delhi airport, surged 13 percent in Mumbai on Thursday, the biggest gain since June 2. GVK Power and Infrastructure, which operates the Mumbai airport, climbed 3.4 percent. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index was little changed.

Delhi International Airport, the country’s biggest airport which is partly owned by GMR and Frankfurt airport operator Fraport AG, said the government wrongly excluded existing public-private-partnership airports from liberalized land end-use. The government argued it would have earned more from airport privatizations if bidders knew of such rules earlier.