Flying at a time of BIA’s convenience, not yours

Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), which will commence operations on May 11, 2008, is supposed to deliver us poor suffering Bangaloreans from the grind and capacity constraints we face at HAL airport.

Given the growth of air traffic in Bangalore over the last few years, however, it will be WE, who will have to learn to fly at times suitable to BIA’s convenience, not ours.

I made this graph using data of the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), production programme for Summer 2008 (March to October 2008).

Time slots are a valuable commodity. Continental Airlines, just paid over $200 million for its landing slots at Heathrow Airport, London, to fly under the new “Open Skies” policy between the US and the EU.

As per BIAL’s own data, on its opening date, the new Bengaluru International Airport’s (BIA) single runway, is already “fully booked” during the peak travel hours from 6AM – 10AM and from 6PM to 8PM.

The file indicates a maximum of 30 aircraft movements per hour, and you will observe that the 6AM-7AM and 6PM-7PM time slots are actually over booked.

May be BIA operators expect some spill overs in to other hours. It is also important for us to realise that the “Summer” period is the slack period in India for air travel. The Winter period from end October to end March is the peak travel period, when we can expect demand to increase by another 20%.

BIA may have a modular design for the terminal, but a new runway will take at least 2~3 years. The only option to the BIAL consortium will be to give airlines slots in the non-peak hours.

But wait a moment ……. is that not the situation in HAL right now ?

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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