BIA, HAL dispute carries on
Saturday July 5 2008
BANGALORE: The latest survey conducted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), on the passenger handling capacity of the two airports in Bangalore, indicates that there is just a minor difference in the capacities of the two airports, contrasting BIAL’s claims.
The annual capacity of the HAL Airport has been found to be 6.5 million for domestic and 1.5 million for international passengers, the total capacity of the airport being 8 million.
However, the HAL Airport, if used only for domestic flight operations, can handle 9 million passengers per annum, the report says.
The capacity of Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is reported to be 9.87 million. The annual air passenger traffic in Bangalore for 2007-08 was 10.12 million, more than BIA’s reported capacity.
Earlier, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) had told the High Court that the actual capacity of the HAL Airport is 3.5 million, whereas that of BIA is 14 million.
The BIA website, on the other hand, reads: ‘The current airport infrastructure is designed to handle over 11 million passenger movements annually.’
BIAL has been maintaining that BIA has the capacity to handle Bangalore’s air traffic and that the city does not need two airports.
BIAL, reportedly, has written to the Ministry of Civil Aviation to register its disagreement on the reported capacity of both the airports.
However, the difference in the reported capacities of the old and the new airport has raised many eyebrows.
The main reason for developing a Greenfield airport (BIA) in Bangalore was the capacity constraints of the existing (HAL) airport. HAL Airport was closed for commercial operations with BIA’s commissioning on May 24 this year.
Doubts about the capacity of the new airport, therefore, raises questions about BIA’s exclusive status in Bangalore. In view of the report, the new airport does not seem to be capable of coping with the growing air traffic in Bangalore, while the infrastructure at the HAL Airport is not being used efficiently.
Earlier, the HAL Airport, the people and the industries had suggested many options (domestic/ short haul/ small aircraft) to retain commercial operations at HAL Airport.
The High Court of Karnataka and the Supreme Court have also given directions about exploring the possibilities of renegotiations between BIAL and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, on keeping HAL Airport open for commercial operations.
Source : The New Indian Express