A strong agitation by airport employees effectively spoilt the tour that the prospective bidders were meant to undertake for control of the airport’s operations, on Tuesday.
Representatives of private companies, including those from foreign airports, who visited the city airport, got a taste of violent resistance put up by around 2,000 protesting union members.
Over 300 airport employees, affiliated to a union, barged into the arrival hall of the domestic terminal at the airport here and staged a protest against the visit of the representatives around 9 am.
Dressed in black, they raised slogans, waved black flags and picked up a fight with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel, before running amok at the terminal.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials confirmed that representatives from GMR, GVK, Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), Fraport, Larson & Toubro, Reliance and Celebi Holdings from Turkey visited the airport and held discussions with senior management.
But the welcome party for the prospective bidders could not take them around and show them the new terminals as the airport employees blocked the entrance of the administration building and prevented the team from coming out after meeting airport director.
“They were stuck inside the operations building for a while. They took a break and came later, but the protestors were adamant and remained there for hours,” said an airport official.
Airports Authority of India even sent a senior official of the Human Resources department to pacify the employees, but to no avail, added the source.
Finally, the tour was cancelled and the presentation ceremony for the prospective private bidders was held at a nearby hotel.
The bidders departed quietly in separate flights from 5 pm.