Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Airport work on track, fears of delay baseless: BIAL

Airport work on track, fears of delay baseless: BIAL
Deccan Herald

Mr Brunner strongly advocated setting up a rail link to the airport as the highways would prove inadequate to handle the traffic.

Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) CEO Albert Brunner on Tuesday asserted that transparency was maintained in awarding Engineering Procurement Contracts (EPCs) for the airport project and dispelled apprehensions that a recent report by a Parliamentary Standing Committee on the contracts could hinder work on the airport.

After delivering a talk on the BIAL project at a joint meeting by Rotary Orchard and Rotary Brigades in Bangalore, Mr Brunner said the report could have been tabled in Parliament after a possible “misunderstanding”.

“Even when the criteria for the consortium were being selected, it was made as a pre-condition that a party in the consortium should have experience in airport construction following which Unique, which runs the Zurich Airport, joined the consortium. Further, an independent consultant group had scrutinised the contracts and their competitiveness,” said Mr Brunner.

He added that at later stages of the project, a board committee and an independent agency appointed by the lender bank had also perused details of the contracts.

Rail link

Talking about infrastructure development around the airport, Mr Brunner said a rail link was imperative for the airport’s success. “The highways would sooner or later prove to have limited capacity. Even on an environmental perspective, a rail link becomes a must,” he said.

‘Will meet deadline’

Expressing confidence that BIAL would meet the April 2, 2008 deadline for the airport, Mr Brunner said the company would also focus on non-aviation related revenues to make the airport more economical. “We will be targeting concessionaires for commercial activities like cargo handling, fuel agents and shops in the airport. Partners for these deals will be selected in an open process,” he said.

The company is awaiting a new set of guidelines from the Ministry of Civil Aviation on selection of such partners, he said. Calling the long-winding negotiations over the past three years “painful”, Mr Brunner however said the project was right on course. The Rs 1412 crore airport is expected to take off with around 6.8 million passengers per year and has a potential to go up to 40 million passengers per year, he said.


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