Saturday, December 26, 2009

BIAL will only make some cosmetic changes

BIAL will only make some cosmetic changes
P M Raghunandan Bangalore, Dec 25, DHNS

But for some cosmetic changes, there won’t be any major improvement in the look of the ‘not-so-attractive’ Bangalore international airport building.

According to official sources, the BIAL has refused to make any major changes in the existing airport building to make it look attractive and upgrade the aesthetics to international standard.

“The BIAL has informed the Government that it is not feasible to re-work on the existing design. Nothing much can be done now as far as the look of the building is concerned,” sources said.

Faced with criticism over, among others, poor designing of the airport building, the State Infrastructure Development (ID) department had recently got a new design done from a private consultant firm. The department had directed the BIAL to incorporate changes in the structure as per the new design and to improve the aesthetics.

However, the BIAL replied that it is not feasible. It has only agreed to do landscaping in the vacant plot adjacent to the terminal building and put up replicas showcasing the Karnataka culture.

BIAL is a consortium that includes Siemens Project Ventures, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, India’s largest engineering company, and Unique Zurich Airport, which operates the international airport at Zurich, Switzerland. Airports Authority of India and the Karnataka Government hold 13 per cent equity in the project. An estimated Rs 2,470 crore has been spent on the project.

2nd terminal 2011

Though the ID department has directed to immediately take up construction of the terminal 2 with 60,000 sq meters space, the BIAL has said it will be able to take it up only in 2011-12, as per the agreement signed with the State Government. It has, however, agreed to expand the terminal 1 immediately by 90,000 sq ft. The existing terminal is 72,000 sq ft.

The BIAL has, in fact, deferred its expansion plans and slashed its passenger estimate due to economic slowdown and increased domestic fares.

“The expansion plan, which includes another terminal and a second runway, involves an investment of Rs 4,000-5,000 crore. The promoters are not ready for this kind of heavy investment at this juncture,” sources said.

The BIAL now expects to handle 9.2 million passengers by March 2010, compared with the 13 million it had forecast at the time it opened for traffic in May 2008. As the existing terminal is built to handle 10 million passengers, the BIAL thinks that there is no immediate need for expansion and terminal 2 construction, sources explained.

Nevertheless, the BIAL has informed the ID department that it is carrying out a comprehensive study on the space allocation requirement for the passenger terminal building and that it will take appropriate decision based on the study.

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