Chennai and Kolkata examine sites for new airports

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Both Delhi and Mumbai anticipate second airports to be up and running within a few years - although one never knows in India; delays can emerge out of thin air and last for years.

If they do progress to fruition they may be joined by Chennai and Kolkata, two very large cities but not among India's commercial elite. Chennai's existing airport should be privatised within two years or so (again, if all goes according to plan), while Kolkata remains under government control. Both airports are influenced by domestic and low cost demand to a greater degree than airports in the capital and main commercial cities.

And that raises the question of how these new airports will be financed when a final decision is made on their precise location. The strategy for the new airports at Delhi and Mumbai has meant that the private sector has taken the lead while Airports Authority of India's role switches more to one of a supporter of smaller regional airports.

But Chennai and Kolkata may not be as attractive to foreign investors, thus passing the baton to indigenous Indian firms.

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