Monday, March 31, 2008

Study for retaining HAL Airport

Study for retaining HAL Airport

Staff Reporter

‘New airport may not cope with air traffic growth’

Air traffic increased by 40 per cent during 2006-2007

‘Concession agreement could be renegotiated’

BANGALORE: A study conducted by the Centre for Public Policy of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) has recommended that HAL Airport operations continue even after the new Bangalore International Airport (BIA) at Devanahalli commences its operations on May 11.

The recommendations, submitted to Governor Rameshwar Thakur on Saturday by the former Chief Secretary A. Ravindra along with the centre’s faculty Gopal Naik and Ashwin Mahesh, underscore the key issues pertaining to the retention of the HAL Airport as also connectivity to the airport at Devanahalli

“After conducting the study, we have concluded that Bangalore should have two airports instead of one once the Devanahalli airport commences its operations. The conclusion has been arrived at after considering the growth rate of air traffic,” Mr. Ravindra told The Hindu. While the air traffic grew at a moderate rate when the construction of the airport commenced, it zoomed to 40 per cent during 2006-2007, he added.

Keeping in view of the growth, he said BIA, with just one runway, may also be saturated. Pointing out that many major cities in the world have two airports, he added: “The concession agreement signed by the State Government with BIA Ltd. could be renegotiated or (the parties involved could) arrive at a consensus after discussions as the growth was not foreseen at the time signing the agreement.”

Mr. Ravindra said that the report has studied connectivity to the BIA, one of the much-debated issues at present.

“Residents of several areas in Bangalore South may have to commute close to 45 km to reach the airport. Time and cost involved to reach the airport are high. Those who will travel short distances such as Kochi, Chennai and Hyderabad and also those flying on low-cost airlines would be severely hit,” he said.

The study and the recommendations follow a public debate involving authorities at HAL, BIAL, the State Government, industries and an independent analysis of the situation.


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