Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hopes for HAL reopening fade, BIA satisfies AAI

Hopes for HAL reopening fade, BIA satisfies AAI
Tuesday June 24 2008 08:57 IST

Hemanth C S and Monica Jha

BANGALORE: Curtains fell on the HAL Airport after the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) started commercial flight operations on May 24; they are unlikely to lift.

The HAL Airport, which was closed for commercial flight operations on May 25, will remain non-operational, barring military and VIP flight landings and take-offs.

Sources told this website's newspaper that the four-member Airports Authority of India team which visited the BIA last week to conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the air traffic and passenger capacity at the new airport is satisfied with the facilities there.

They have also been assured by the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) that measures to address shortcomings will be initiated immediately.

“The idea of having two airports is not being viewed positively. Even if the airline operators want HAL to operate short haul flights, it is not feasible. From the commuters’ point of view too, it is not a good option to keep two airports operating simultaneously in the city," sources explained.

BIAL, on its part, is also said to have assured the inspection team that it would be taking up expansion work to meet future requirements.

“Ramp expansion work will start immediately; the number of ramps will be increased from the present 42 to 70. As part of the first phase of expansion, which will be undertaken in the next three months, eight ramps will be added," sources said.

With this expansion, around 38 to 40 aircraft can be parked without any difficulty. There would also be no wasteage of fuel. Further, the BIAL has also said that a temporary low-cost terminal will be constructed in the next 18 months for no frills airlines which constitute a significant proportion of flight movements.

Meanwhile, the HAL airport has been given the green signal to operate charter flight operations. The Airports Authority of India will submit its report to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on June 26.


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