Monday, October 26, 2009

Plane truth: HAL operated more flights than BIA

Plane truth: HAL operated more flights than BIA

Hemanth CSFirst Published : 26 Oct 2009 05:02:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 26 Oct 2009 06:57:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: The average one-hour Volvo ride from the city to the airport is something the Bangalorean has met with a stiff upper lip as the inevitable trade-off for the swanky new International Airport that replaced the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport.
But not only has the oneand- a-half year old Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) failed to attract new airline services, it is currently operating fewer flights than HAL did when it shut down in May last year.
“When the HAL airport was operating commercial flights, there were around 325 movements last year which continued till the time of its closure. But, at the BIA the number of flight movements dropped within a week after its commissioning.
Since, June 2008 only 280 flights operate from the BIA though it has a capacity to operate 700,” AN Vishwanath, General Manager (Coordination), Air Traffic Management, BIA, told Express.
He added that though a few international airlines have started flight services from the BIA, the domestic traffic has seen a 10 per cent dip.
“When the HAL Airport used to operate commercial flights there was an overwhelming demand by airlines to operate more flights between Bangalore and other destinations. However, HAL, which owns the airport, shot down the request citing it would hamper its aircraft testing activity at the airport,” added Vishwanath.
BIAL, the promoters of the airport, have said that though domestic flight numbers dropped initially, no domestic carriers have added new routes or withdrawn routes in last six months.
However in the past few months around five international flights have been withdrawn as many airlines found operating flights out of Bangalore not viable.
Situation improving
Though in the beginning of the year there was a dip in number of passengers due to the recession, BIAL says that it has has witnessed increased passenger numbers over the last six months.
During July this year, there was a 13 per cent growth in passenger numbers compared to last July.
Similarly, August and September saw a passenger growth of 15 and 22 per cent respectively, compared to the same months last year.


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