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Civil Aviation ministry officials to inspect BIAL, again

BIA facilities under scanner
B S Arun, DH News Service, New Delhi:

A team of the civil aviation ministry will visit the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) on August 19 for an inspection of the facilities there in the light adverse remarks made against the new aerodrome in its report by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The ministry officials will also hold a meeting with the State government and BIA officials regarding improvement of passenger amenities and other issues.

The AAI, in its report, concluded that the airport was facing severe capacity constraints putting passengers in great inconvenience.

Directed by the civil aviation ministry to conduct the study in the face of criticism of the facilities and capacity bottlenecks, the AAI also observed that as against the allotted 12 to 20 per cent of space for commercial utilisation, BIA has used up to 30 per cent of the space. This, the AAI said, has affected the passenger amenities. The problem faced by the passengers was acute in the security hold area (SHA), it noted and called for measures to set them right. Lack of adequate space for toilets in the SHA area has also been cited in the report.

The report, which has been submitted to the ministry, is understood to have suggested that plans for the second terminal should be taken up right away. It has said that the airport was already brimming to its capacity of 11 million passengers a year.

On the terminal capacity, the report, prepared by a team led by AAI member (planning) V P Agarwal, pointed out that the airport was built to handle a capacity of less than 10 million passengers, while the BIA was claiming that it was 11.4 million.

Hence, it said, reopening of the old HAL airport — closed after the May 23 opening of the new airport — might have to be looked into.

It, however, noted that the runway has not been saturated but a second runway would become necessary by 2011. The Tuesday meeting will also discuss the submissions to be made before the Karnataka High Court at the August 22 hearing of the petition relating to the reopening of the HAL airport. Recently, the Karnataka Assembly set up a House Committee to go into the various inadequacies of the airport including lack of adequate number of toilets, overcrowding at SHA, excessive utilisation of commercial space, no VIP lounge and narrow access to aerobridges among other things.

BIAL CEO BRUNNER TO DECCAN HERALD

  • Passenger traffic growth far surpassed all projections
  • Construction of a second terminal cannot be delayed
  • A mini terminal at “low cost” to be built immediately
  • Second runway in four years
  • More space needed for passengers inside the terminal

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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