Thursday, April 28, 2005

Airport gears up for plane boom

Airport gears up for plane boom
The Times of India

Bangalore: With many foreign and domestic airlines rushing in, the Bangalore airport is gearing up to handle this plane boom.

North West-KLM Airlines, British Airways and Air France will be starting their flights into Bangalore from Oct.end this year, joining the fleet of Lufthansa German Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, SriLankan Airlines, Air India, Indian Airlines, Royal Nepal Airlines, Gulf Air and Thai Airways, which are operating out of Bangalore.

The airport is in an expansion mode right now. The terminal building of the domestic and international airport will be expanded both on the city side and the air side, giving more movi n g space, and the number of counters will be increased to 21 from the present 11 at the international terminal. The terminal building will be expanded to over 1,000 square metres from the present 600 square metres.

A detailed proposal has been sent to the Airports Authority of India headquarters for approval last Friday and the renovation is estimated to cost Rs 15 crore, sources told The Times of India. As per the plan, the check-in counters will be shifted to the ground floor from the present first floor and passengers need not carry their luggage to the first floor.
An international flight normally requires about two-and-a-half to three hours to complete the check-in process as every airline has to use a particular check-in counter.

Common Users Terminal Equipment (CUTE) will now be installed, enabling any airline to use any terminal, thus speeding the process of checkin. The CUTE system is being introduced in about 16 airports in the country, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. The decision to include Bangalore was taken during the recent visit of Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel and AAI chairman K. Ramalingam.

Sources said the design for the proposal is also ready and tenders will be finalised in June this year. The work is targeted to be completed by Dec. 2005.

T he first floor will be completely earmarked for the Customs, Immigration and security hold area, thus creating more space for passenger movement. The expansion will create a near 40 per cent higher capacity. Markings have already been drawn to extend the terminal building on the city side by 12 metres up to the canopy area, and the AAI plans to put up glazing facade to make the airport look more swanky. The reservation office counters at the domestic terminal will be repositioned and the entrance to the terminal building will also be changed. International Airlines will be provided offices on the international side.

At the arrival hall, the plan is to have two conveyor belts enabling the airport to handle arrival of two international flights at a time. To avoid congestion, the new international operators flying into Bangalore have been advised to operate between 3 am and 6 am, sources said.


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