Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Uncertainty over opening date of new airport in Bangalore

Uncertainty over opening date of new airport in Bangalore

Ashwini Phadnis
Madhumathi D.S.

New Delhi/Bangalore, April 22 Will the new airport in Bangalore open on May 11 or is there likely to be a further delay? A clear picture is likely to emerge towards the end of the month by when the report of the Director General of Civil Aviation on giving a licence to the airport would have been received and the Minister for Civil Aviation, Mr Praful Patel, would have had a meeting with officials of the Ministry, Airports Authority of India, the Karnataka Government and the Bangalore International Airports Ltd (BIAL).

The meeting has been called in view of the High Court direction to the Union Government to reconsider closure of the HAL airport and also on levy of user development fee. The concession agreement drawn with the promoters of the new airport states that the existing airport will close when the greenfield airport opens.

Officials from private airlines also maintain that the airport is unlikely to be inaugurated till a new government is in place in the State, which is expected by May-end. Ministry of Civil Aviation officials, however, caution that it was premature to say just yet that the airport opening has been pushed back from May 11, the date proposed by the promoters.
Start operations

Earlier this month the Chief Executive Officer, BIAL, Mr Albert Brunner told Business Line that the operation of the airport and its inauguration were two different issues. BIAL has proposed that the airport could start operating first and be formally dedicated once the new Karnataka Government was in place. If the airport opening is delayed beyond May 11 it would be the second such occasion.


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