New Bangalore airport to open soon
12 May 2008, 2024 hrs IST, PTI
The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Amid indications that no civilian flights will be allowed at Bangalore’s HAL airport, government on Monday said the new international airport will open by the end of this month and operator’s licence will be issued to it in the next 2-3 days.
This emerged after a meeting convened by the Civil Aviation Ministry in which top officials of the Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) as well as those from the Karnataka government participated.
The meeting came in the backdrop of a letter being shot off by Parliamentary Standing Committee Chairman Sitaram Yechury to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding that the existing HAL airport be kept open for small aircraft operations, as was the case in major cities like Dallas, Houston and Newark.
Announcing that the new airport would start functioning by “this month-end”, Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla said BIAL was “not agreeable to keep the existing airport open” as this was not in the contract.
To a pointed question whether the existing airport operated by the Indian Air Force and Hindustan Aeronautics would be closed down for civilian operations, he said: “I suppose that is how it is working out.”
However, Chawla said talks were on with various stakeholders, including the airlines now operating at the HAL airport, on several options as to how it can be kept operational for civilian air traffic.
On May 5, the Supreme Court had directed the Centre to consider a citizen group’s demand to keep the existing airport operational, given apprehensions on accessing the new airport located 40 kms away from the city.
As per the government’s contract with BIAL the existing airport should be shut down once the new one start operation.