Saturday, May 31, 2008


A week after take-off, the Bengaluru International Airport continues to be plagued by connectivity/capacity issues, infrastructure malfunctions, passenger woes and stakeholder anxieties. The king of good times, Vijay Mallya, CMD, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, shares his views on BIA with Anshul Dhamija

Q: As an airline entrepreneur operating out of various airports in the country, what is your honest comment on the Bengaluru International Airport?
BIAL is no match to the new Hyderabad airport. It’s barely able to cope with current traffic. It will not be able to handle increasing volume of traffic.

A: It’s almost a week since the BIA took off. However, several teething issues still exist. What are the major concerns for Kingfisher Airlines?
There are several teething problems at the BIA. It is not adequately equipped for airport operations. Ground-handling systems, too, aren’t good enough.

Q: There seems to be a growing concerns regarding the airport’s infrastructure, especially capacity and congestion issues. What’s your take?

A: BIAL is already behind time. There is an urgent need for a new terminal. Regrettably, the BIA experience is similar to that of the HAL airport. Worse still, BIA is located a long distance away.

Q: What are your suggestions for improvement?

A: BIAL needs to build additional capacity urgently.

Q: Kingfisher was planning to make Bangalore a hub for its international and domestic operations. Are you still pursuing the plan?

A: I am seriously concerned that our guest experience for domestic and international travel will take a beating. Expectations of travellers from a new airport are very high and BIAL has too many constraints. Ultimately, the airlines suffer.

Q: Kingfisher has invested a lot in setting up various facilities at the new airport. In addition, there is talk of Kingfisher setting up an MRO facility. Would you rethink your investment plans under the current scenario?

A: No comments.

Q: Would you support a move to reopen the old HAL airport for commercial use?

A: It’s not possible for an airline to operate out of two airports in the current environment.

Q: Or would you look at the new Hyderabad airport or Chennai airport?

A: I will consider all options.

Q: As a discerning traveller who has seen the world, how would you rate BIA? How ‘international’ is it?

A: BIA, unfortunately, is not up to my expectations. BIAL has compromised in every possible way to reduce investment, and is now looking for quick returns by levying various charges. For airlines as well as passengers, BIA needs to improve urgently.


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