Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Centre Likely To Pressure BIAL To Renegotiate Agreement

Centre Likely To Pressure BIAL To Renegotiate Agreement

Bangalore: The tale of two airports in Bangalore is heading towards a climax. The civil aviation ministry and the s t a ke - holders of Bang a l o re I n t e r - national Airport Ltd (BIAL) are meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday to address three major issues: the date of opening BIA (Bengaluru International Airport), keeping the existing HAL airport functional for commercial operations even after the launch of BIA, and charging of user development fee (UDF).
TOI was the first to report last week this crucial meeting. Ashok Chawla, secretary in the civil aviation ministry, had then said representatives of the Airports Authority of India, BIAL and the Karnataka government would attend the meeting to “examine the possibility of renegotiating the agreement with BIAL on closure of the existing airport and charging of UDF in pursuance of the high court order.”
In response to several petitions, the Karnataka High Court had suggested that the Centre should look at renegotiating with BIAL on those issues.
According to sources, the date of opening of BIA would be decided only after the elections to the state assembly. That means BIA would open only after May 25 — the day votes will be counted.
Observers tracking these developments say the meeting would be a critical one for the non-government stakeholders of BIAL. The government is likely to put pressure on BIAL to renegotiate the contract and could use the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to do so.
“Though the DGCA is ready to issue the required licences for BIA to begin operations, the civil aviation ministry would look to capitalize on the issuance of these licences to get BIAL to agree to its terms,” sources said.
A BIAL spokesperson said a DGCA team visited BIA last week. “We are looking forward to receiving feedback”.
BIAL, along with its concessionaires, has invested Rs 3,500 core in the first phase of the airport project.
The new Hyderabad airport, which faced similar problems like BIA, had a smooth takeoff. Infrastructure leading to the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Begumpet is bad, if not worse than what one would see in the drive up to BIA. RGIA also had close to 50 safety issues compared to BIA’s 59, but still got DGCA clearance.
“The only advantage that RGIA had is that they have a strong Indian partner in GMR who understands the environmental dynamics in running an airport in India,” said an observer.


At Monday, June 2, 2008 at 4:15:00 PM GMT+5:30, Blogger Unknown said...

I feel this airport is far better than HAL airport.
Initial hiccups are everywhere. This airport will stabilize and will become one of the best.

Warm Regards


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