Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL)

Cochin International Airport Unlisted Shares Logo


About the Company

  • Cochin International Airport is the first greenfield airport in the country built with public-private partnerships. Planned and constructed from scratch, the airport has been acclaimed for setting a novel idea in infrastructure development.
  • The astonishing public participation, relentless support from NRIs and effective leadership have made CIAL, the company that built and operates the airport, an international brand.
  • It is also the first airport in the world fully powered by solar energy.
  • Ever since commercial operations started on 10th June 1999 with an International flight to Dammam. CIAL has grown rapidly becoming the 5th largest International Airport in India. (Source:
CIAL Unlisted Shares Past Financial Performance


History & Evolution

  • Kochi's airport was built in 1936 by the Kingdom of Kochi, intended for transporting officials involved in the development of the Cochin Port.
  • Converted into a military airport by the Indian Navy during World  War II. The Royal Navy chose it as a strategic site for their headquarters.
  • Post-independence, the Indian Navy operated the airport.
  • Mr. V. J. Kurian, IAS led the way in establishing the Airport after overcoming various financial and operational hindrances.
  • In 1995, the first flight took off from the Cochin International Airport.
  • The Airport grew to be one of the largest airports in the country.

Awards & Achievements

  • Cochin airport becomes first in India to start Hydropower Project in Nov 2021.
  • The Cochin Airport won a global award for quality of service from Airport Council International (ACI) in June 2021.
  • The airport is awarded as the best airport in Asia-Pacific in 2020 (5 to 15 million passengers per annum) by Airports Council International
  • For this entrepreneurial vision, the airport won the coveted Champion of the Earth award in 2018, the highest environmental honour instituted by the United Nations.
  • State Pollution Control Board Excellence Award in 2018.
  • In 2015, Cochin International Airport became the world's first fully solar-powered airport with the inauguration of a dedicated solar plant.

Industry Opportunity

  • India is expected to overtake China and the United States as the world's third-largest air passenger market in the next ten years, by 2030, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
  • India’s passenger traffic stood at 115.37 million in FY21. Domestic passenger traffic stood at 105.2 million in FY21 and International passenger traffic stood at 10.1 million. The air traffic witnessed a significant decline globally in FY21 due to Covid-19 related restrictions. In March 2021, the average daily passenger traffic stood at 546,702.
  • The expenditure of Indian travelers is expected to grow to INR 9.5 lakh crore (US$ 136 billion) by 2021.
  • To cater to the rising air traffic, the Government of India has been working towards increasing the number of airports. As of 2020, India had 153 operational airports. India has envisaged increasing the number of operational airports to 190-200 by FY40. The number of airplanes is expected to reach 1,100 planes by 2027.
  • The Government of India launched regional connectivity scheme named UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) in 2016 to make flying affordable for common man.
  • According to the data released by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), FDI inflow in India’s air transport sector (including air freight) reached US$ 2.95 billion between April 2000 and March 2021.
  • India’s aviation industry is expected to witness INR 35,000 crore (US$ 4.99 billion) investment in the next four years. The Indian Government is planning to invest US$ 1.83 billion for the development of airport infrastructure along with aviation navigation services by 2026.

Key Investments and Developments in the Industry

  • AAI plans to invest INR 25,000 crore (US$ 3.58 billion) in next the five years to augment facilities and infrastructure at airports.
  • The Airport Authority of India plans to abolish royalty and offer steep discounts in lease rent to encourage Maintenance, Repair and Operations (MRO) units to set up facilities at its airports.
  • In March 2021, on the launch of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav by the Government of India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has proposed 392 routes under the UDAN 4.1 bidding process
  • Ace Investor Mr. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala led Rare Enterprises, in partnership with former CEOs of IndiGo and Jet Airways, plans to start an ultra-low-cost airline, to be named as ‘Akasa’, to capitalize on the domestic air travel demand in 2021.
  • In October 2020, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) announced plan to upgrade runways at seven airports across the country by March 2022.
  • In June 2021, SpiceJet announced its ambitious target to fly 100 million domestic passengers on Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) blend by 2030 under the aegis of World Economic Forum (WEF).
  • Under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) -Udan scheme, approximately 34,74,000 passengers were flown and 335 routes were awarded during 2019, covering 33 airports (20 unserved, 3 underserved, 10 water aerodromes).

Investment Rationale

  • Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) is one the largest international airport in India with over 9.7 million passenger movement and handling air traffic of over 67,000 aircrafts in pre-covid times.
  • The Company clocked a consolidated operational revenue of INR 297 Cr in FY21 with EBITDA of INR 74 Cr. The entity carries a very low debt burden with a healthy Debt-to-Equity ratio of 0.50x. CIAL also holds a strong position with respect to liquidity management.
  • The Company has a long dividend payment history with cumulative dividend distribution of 282% till date.
  • CIAL owns around 1300 Acres of land parcel. With an approximate land value of INR 6 Cr per acre in Cochin, the estimated fair market value of land held by CIAL is INR ~8,700 Crs. This is an evidence of robust book value the CIAL holds.
  • CIAL has reported a revenue CAGR of 8.15%, PAT CAGR of 5.52% and EPS growth at CAGR of 4.06% between 2016-19.
  • CIAL is India’s first fully solar-powered airport and it has also been recognized as the first Indian airport to start the Hydro-power project.
  • Kochi in Kerala is witnessing unprecedented growth. Kochi has become the business hub of Kerala and is witnessing a number of mega projects like LNG terminal, International Cargo Container Terminal, etc.
  • With covid restrictions being gradually repelled globally, the air travel and transport operations are expected to pace up again. The Company is also expected to benefit from the structural reforms taking place in India and internationally
  • CIAL is backed by the Govt of Kerala and the Chief Minister of the State leads the Board. Many industry veterans and experts are part of the Company’s management which insures ethical and diligent conduct from the management.


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