Keep HAL airport open: AAI
24 Jul 2008, TNN
Anshul Dhamija and Sujit John
Bangalore: The new Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) has landed in a turbulent whirlwind with the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
The AAI has prepared a report that says that BIA’s capacity is less than what its promoters have stated, that the airport is already saturated, and that the promoters have violated a key clause in the concession agreement signed with the government. It has gone on to recommend that the old HAL airport be kept open till BIA builds an additional terminal.
The AAI report, a copy of which is with The Times of India, follows a directive by the civil aviation minister to study the capacity issues at BIA. The AAI had designated a 4-member team to conduct the study in June.
The report says that the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) must take “immediate action…to create an additional capacity of 10 million passengers per annum to avoid further congestion and to handle the projected growth.” The report goes on to say, “In view of the saturation of the passenger terminal, import cargo, apron and runway, it is recommended that, in the meantime, the existing HAL Airport may be permitted to operate until the time of commissioning of proposed additional capacity at the new Bengaluru International Airport.”
As per AAI’s calculations, the terminal capacity at BIA can only handle 9.78 million passengers annually as against the city’s passenger traffic of 10.12 million passengers in 2007-08. This means that since the day BIA opened on May 24, the airport has been under capacity. BIAL, on the contrary, has claimed that the airport’s capacity is 11.4 million passengers, which could even go up to handle 14 million passengers annually.
As per recommendations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an airport which has to handle passenger traffic of 10 million passengers should have a terminal size of 1,50,000 sqm in area. BIA, according to the AAI report, has a terminal size of barely half that at 71,310 sqm.
The report goes on to state: “BIAL revised its forecast to 11.4 million in November, 2006, for the year 2015 which deviates from the actual traffic drastically. In fact the traffic was growing as high as 43.9% when the revised forecast was made in November 2006.
As per the concession agreement para 14.2 (page-61) BIAL was supposed to provide facilities as per IATA/ICAO standards and was to provide 27.3 sqm of space per peak hour passenger (PHP), whereas the actual area provided is 19.8 sqm per PHP, which is in deviation with the concession agreement.”
As per norms followed by IATA, the capacity of an airport terminal is calculated on the ratio between the total area of an airport terminal to the number of peak hour passengers, which for any airport should be a minimum of 25 sqm/PHP.
In fact the figure of 19.8 sqm/PHP at BIA is way below that of older airports in Chennai and Kolkata which have figures of 23.15 sqm/PHP and 24.15 sqm/PHP respectively. In the new Hyderabad airport terminal, it is estimated to be 35.21 sqm/PHP.
Further, taking the terminal building in its totality, the report states that the “basement area of 18,665 sqm is not used for passenger facilitation, it is used for storage, services and utilities. Therefore, basement area should be excluded from the total terminal area which will reduce area/PHP to 14.6 sqm.”
What AAI report also said
- BIA’s peak hour runway capacity is 32 movements as against current peak hour demand of 25. With anticipated annual growth rate of 25%, runway is likely to saturate during 2010-11. Immediate action should be taken for construction of second runway
- Existing number of parking bays are 42 as against peak hour demand of 41 bays (26 passenger aircraft, 5 freighter, 10 buffer for contingency). Addition of 30 more bays recommended
- There is imbalance between import and export cargo area which needs adjustment, that is import cargo is saturated whereas export cargo and domestic cargo have adequate capacity. It is therefore recommended that an additional import cargo capacity may be created immediately.
Source : The Times of India