Thursday, January 21, 2010

BIA TO SPREAD WINGS WIDE

BIA TO SPREAD WINGS WIDE
Bengaluru International Airport has chalked out an expansion plan that includes one more terminal and a second runway
GAYATRI NAIR


Critics have pointed out that the existing Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is like a ‘factory’, but the promoters now promise that the new terminal building would be swanky, with an upgraded runway to accommodate newer aircraft.
GOING FULL FORCE
Now that an announcement has come about BIA’s plan to build terminal 2, there is buzz again about where the terminal building will come and how it will look. Soon, the process of scouting for architects and planners will begin. But indications are that terminal 2 will be huge, swanky and better than the best in the world.
The two terminal buildings put together will look like an ‘L’ when viewed from the top. Terminal 2 is proposed to be two-tier like the Hyderabad airport, with one level earmarked for arrivals and the other for departures.
The plan includes building a multi-level car park (MLCP) and a second runway. The runway will come up on the southern side, parallel to the present runway. A distance of 1.9 km will separate the two runways.
Sources told Bangalore Mirror, “Terminal 2 will have a railway station to accommodate the High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) project and the basement will also have more space for parking vehicles,” said sources.
The idea of expansion is to have a building that is not only massive but will be functional at a multi-level. “We have yet to assign the job to an architect, but we are sure the planners for the second building will be different. The entire process of picking the architects will take some months and the drawing of the design 16 to 18 months.”
They added, “The second terminal will be a structure that Bangalore will be extremely proud of. The terminal building and the runway will be built keeping in mind futuristic requirements of all airlines and will provide for accommodating the latest aircraft, including the A-380 aircraft. As for the existing terminal, the building will be widened on both sides.”
Sources said since the expansion and building plans are still in its infancy, no proper blue-print has been chalked out. “The cost and size of expansion are yet to be chalked out, but this time we are going to commit a grand airport that will be completely different from the previous one,” according to the GVK Group, which has come in as a new partner of BIAL with a 29 per cent stake. At this stage, it is unclear how the structure of BIAL is going to change in view of the entry of new incumbents into the board of directors.
ICONIC STRUCTURE
If sources are to be believed, the new terminal will come diagonally opposite to the existing terminal building. “There is a vacant space just as one takes a right turn to where the hotel is being built. The place where a number of people come to watch flights take off and land, the new building might come up there. The proposed plan is to build an iconic building, a building that you can see as you are coming into the airport.”
Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee at the Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Devesh Agarwal, said, “I was very happy to hear the announcement by the BIAL. We look forward to the rapid expansion of the existing terminal especially as the Indian economy grows and the air traffic increases. I hope BIAL implements a complete dual-level terminal and design along with the railway station and other public transport in the basement, making it a truly global standard airport.”
INFRASTRUCTURE-DRIVEN BOARD
Sources attribute the hastening of the building of second terminal to change in management of the BIAL. “Initially the stakeholders at BIAL - Siemens, Zurich Airport and Larsen & Toubro - were just pumping in funds and were not infrastructure-driven.”

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