Monday, July 09, 2007

BIAL: From brickbats to bouquets

BIAL: From brickbats to bouquets
Civil Aviation Minister Expresses Satisfaction At Progress Of Airport Work

Bangalore: The much-beleaguered Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) at Devanahalli, subject of criticism from the Union civil aviation ministry, can finally heave a sigh of relief.
In the wake of unfavourable comparisons to the GMR Hyderabad Airport at Shamshabad, Union civil aviation minister Praful Patel, who made a whirl-wind site tour here and at Hyderabad on Friday, told The Times of India: “Both will be worldclass airports, exactly as we want them.”
Excerpts from an interview:
The BIAL has been bogged down by criticism from your ministry.
We want all our airports to be world class. If corrections are not made during construction, when can we do? Our endeavour is to improve, not to criticise. It’s only because I raised the issue that phase II of BIAL has been merged with phase I to enhance capacity.
But hasn’t the stinging criticism harmed the image of BIAL?
Not at all. An airport is judged only after it is built, not when it is under construction. It still has about 10 months to go. India’s aviation infrastructure has to be world class both in terms of scale and size. We will do that. That is why I am personally doing a review by visiting the sites.
Has the construction work and design met your requirements?
Yes, I am definitely satisfied with what is being done to meet the expectations of both the ministry and the people. I have also given further suggestions, which they have agreed to implement, such as an increase in the number of aerobridges as well as the stands.
All the issues that we raised, be it flooding of the terminal building or the design changes needed on the factory-like look of the building are being implemented. I am also happy with the pace of the work on the project.
There is a demand that the existing HAL airport in Bangalore should be used for domestic traffic, while the BIAL should be used for international traffic.
Airlines will make all kinds of demands. But we are bound by contracts and agreements we signed. We will not keep the HAL airport open for domestic traffic. But may be, in the long run, it can be done.
Does BIAL still compare unfavourably with GMR Hyderabad?
Both will be world class airports in the end. Bangalore will be as futuristic and modern as Hyderabad. I have made some suggestions to improve the GMR Hyderabad airport also, again to augment the facilities available. They are implementing our suggestions. My desire is both should be showcases for the future of aviation.
Will South India be able to generate the kind of traffic needed for two new airports opening almost simultaneously?
There will be more than enough traffic. The Indian aviation scene is defying all predictions and logic.


Post a Comment

<< Home