Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What’s next for BIA?

What’s next for BIA?

December 23rd, 2009
By Our Correspondent
Tags: advisor Narayana Murthy, BIAL, JLC slams developer, world class facilities

Dec. 22: The Joint Legislative Committee set up to examine Bengaluru International Airport’s lapses slammed airport operator and developer BIAL and its advisors including N.R. Narayana Murthy and the bureaucracy’s top brass. The key question is whether or not the government will take action to rectify blunders made and deliver to Bengalureans what they deserve — a world class facility.
What’s missing?
One of main issues that is missing in the committee’s report is the future course of action, although there is mention of error of judgement by the BIAL board on airport capacity. What exactly is needed to improve standards? How can it be made to look and feel like an international airport? What additional area is required in the terminal building?
who’s accountable?
The report censures BIAL board members for not being transparent. The concession and framework agreements have been drafted to benefit the private partners, but the fact is that the state and Union governments were aware of this when they signed on the dotted line. This leaves little room for regulation. However, certain mechanisms could be introduced to control and monitor developments at BIA. The concession agreement allows for such a mechanism on account of lapses or any kind of deviation from the framework agreement. The government must constitute a body that will ensure there is accountability.
Should HAL airport reopen?
One of the biggest gripes of airport users is BIA’s distance from the city. The report renews the debate on whether HAL Airport should be reopened for commercial flights. The agreement does not allow any other airport within a radius of 150 km from BIA. However, given the lapses by BIAL, the board members representing the state and the Centre can certainly bargain for the reopening of HAL Airport for flight operations to Tier II and Tier III cities.
What about connectivity?
The committee has suggested removal of user development fee (UDF). Rs 260 is small change compared to the bother of getting to the airport. The committee doesn’t even mention the issue of connectivity which has been under debate for more than three years.


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