BIAL CEO: ‘We were close to pulling out’

DH News Service, Bangalore:

Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) Chief Executive Officer, Albert Brunner on Monday said on several times in the past, the BIA consortium (Larsen and Toubro, Zurich Airport and Siemens AG) was on the edge of pulling out from the prestigious airport project.

Delivering a talk on the new airport at the Aeronautical Society of India here, Mr Brunner said, “Looking back, it makes me sad. Private players felt seriously a need to pull-out from the project between 2004-06, due to undue delays and hurdles encountered in seeking clearances for the project. It was a time when the airline industry started booming. We even commissioned Lufthansa Consulting to do a fresh study in 2005 on air traffic projections that projected increase in volumes”

Expansion plans
Mr Brunner announced that BIA has begun plans on the expansion/capacity of the new airport, including the second runway and terminal by 2013.

“We need a second runway two to three years from now. Expansion plans to increase the apron and runway will have to begin immediately.”

He then added that the saturation point of BIA will be reached only in 2025.

“We want to provide more capacity in the terminal building. In phase 2, short term capacity expansion has been planned to accommodate low fare airlines by the end of next year. It could be a low cost terminal or a simple structure. Later, phase 3 will include a additional terminal and a second runway.”

Airport city on cards
An exclusive airport city for non-aviation activities are also being planned at BIA. This will include a hotel, shopping malls, conference halls and business related infrastructure. “The concept of an ‘Airport City’ where you can live and work around the airport is in the pipeline” he said.

The CEO of BIA further said that future challenges were many. “We have to improve teething problems, fast.

The initial glitches such as not enough toilets are being looked into. Lounge space for airlines will be provided. Kingfisher and Jet Airways will soon operate their lounges. We also need to convince people about the one airport concept.

It was the business community that kept the need for two airports functioning. Connectivity is not that bad. You can reach the airport from M G Road in 60 minutes , even during peak hours,” Mr Brunner observed.

Expensive expansion
The BIAL CEO also said that the next phase of airport expansion will be an even costly affair than the Rs 3500 crore invested to construct the airport.

He concluded by saying that a high speed rail to BIA will be developed on an urgent basis.

Source : The Deccan Herald

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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