The Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major confirmed that the Indian Air Force (IAF) has cleared the construction of the second runway at Bengaluru International Airport (BIA).
As per the BIAL master plan, the second runway (27L-09R), will come up to the south of the airport.
The promoters of the airport, BIAL, have been pushing for approval to cope with future demand.
BIAL had projected that passenger traffic at the airport, that is already running at capacity, will be around 11 to 12 million by 2011. Bangalore air traffic peaked at 10.1 million in March 2008, even before the new airport opened. BIAL’s proposal to put up a second runway to cope with the traffic ran into rough weather after the IAF stated that civilian aircraft could stray into the operational airspace at its Yelahanka air base that is just 1.4 nautical miles (4 km) from BIA.
BIAL CEO Albert Brunner, informed reporters, he was pleasantly surprised to learn of the development. “I was not aware of it. This is great news. I must say here that this has come as a big relief for us. We thank the Indian Air Force for its support. We need to work in close coordination with the IAF henceforth and we are hopeful that we can do that,” he said.
Asked how long BIAL will take to put up the second runway, Mr Brunner said: “The runway should be in place three to four years after starting construction. The second runway will be A-380 compliant.” A single air traffic control (ATC) is likely to handle both civilian and military aircraft, government sources said.
The approval of the second runway puts the ball back in BIAL’s court. The pressure will be on the consortium to commence construction without delay.