Wednesday, May 07, 2008

‘New Bangalore airport won’t be operational on May 11’

‘New Bangalore airport won’t be operational on May 11’

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) on Tuesday informed the Karnataka High Court that the new international airport at Devanahalli will not be operational on May 11.

Seeking to place this submission on record, BIAL said it could not decide on the new date of opening of the airport and that it would have to be done by the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Centre.

It said that it would place before the High Court details of the renegotiations with the Centre and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on the issue of closure of the HAL Airport. The renegotiations were on as the Karnataka High Court had suggested to all parties, including BIAL, to reconsider the closure of HAL Airport and levy of user development fee (UDF).

The court was dealing with a petition by Forex, a Bangalore-based company that had challenged the allotment of foreign exchange shops at the new airport to two other companies. Forex claimed that it had not been given details of the evaluation process of the eight firms that had submitted tenders. The company had urged the court to stay the allotment of shops to the two firms, saying that the tender process was not transparent.

It said it had been operating at the HAL Airport for six years, and that there was no reason for BIAL not to share with it information regarding the evaluation process.

Opposing the interim prayer, BIAL said that the shops had already been allotted to the two firms, and that they would have started operations had the airport opened on schedule. BIAL was a private company and it was not required to follow tender norms.

When Forex said the scheduled opening of May 11 still stood, BIAL said it was willing to go on record that the airport would not become operational on that date. Justice Ravi B. Malimath adjourned further hearing on the case to May 26.

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