Holding BIAL to a higher standard

Readers must get the impression that I am anti-BIAL. Sorry, nothing can be further from the truth. As a lifelong believer in Bangalore’s desperate need for more and better infrastructure, I have always welcomed BIAL from the day it was conceived.

I do hold, BIAL to a significantly higher standard of delivery. From day one, in justification of the over Rs. 10,000 Cr., worth of expenditure, concessions, grants, waivers, etc., by the Government, Bangalore was promised a “world class” airport, delivered by a “world class” organisation.

I strongly believe, that Unique Zurich Airport, are an expert organisation, and in my heart, I know they are capable of delivering. We should not accept anything less than a true world class airport. We have to compare BIAL against world leading airports. Bangalore, deserves to get what it was promised — a “world class airport”. The best airport in India, or comparisons to other existing airports in India, are not acceptable benchmarks.

An airport is much more than a passenger terminal building. It is a major economic driver not just of the city, but also of the region. An airport directly employs about 1,000 persons for every 1 million passengers. Everyday about Rs. 150 Cr. worth of cargo transits through BIAL. The total annual economic impact (direct, indirect, and induced), of BIAL as an airport, on Bangalore, and the South Karnataka, South West Andhra, North West Tamil Nadu region, is currently is about $2.5~$3 billion (Rs. 10750 Cr). This will grow at about 25% per year.

Incomplete facilities in the secondary areas, like cargo, airline crew and staff buildings, employee canteens, flight kitchens, in-adequate staffing or training by ground handlers, lack of public seating or toilets, cramped departure lounges or excess dedication to retail shops, are not marks of a well planned airport, and detrimentally impact the economy.

The average traveller, not having a full appreciation of the this impact, judges an airport by its terminal and other passenger facilities. Hopefully, I have raised your awareness and you will better appreciate these short-comings have on our life.

Given the poor working conditions for employees at the airport, I request all fellow passengers to kindly empathise with their plight and miserable working conditions. Let us be more tolerant and understanding of them and their needs. If they are not comfortable, how can we expect them to keep us comfortable and safe.

I do not know the reason(s) why BIAL was pushed in to service in such an incomplete condition.

As an individual, and as the Chairman of the Infrastructure Committee of the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce, I offer any help BIAL management needs to resolve this crisis and put BIAL in to a smooth running mode.

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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  1. is there no SLA or something similar to ensure that we get “world class airport service”? If there isn’t then BIAL has us over a barrel.

  2. Believe or not – No. There is a performance requirement that kicks in after 3 years. However, that process will take a total of 9 years to make a determination and remove BIAL (assuming they do not correct themselves any time during the interim period)