It has been an eventful year for the technology capital of India — Bangalore on the aviation front. The long awaited Bengaluru International Airport commenced operations on the stroke of 00:01 on May 24, 2008.
During this first anniversary period, I begin with a look back at the performance over the last year.
Eighteen months ago, I was vociferously opposed to the closure of the old HAL airport for commercial traffic. The meteoric growth of Bangalore’s air traffic was showing no signs of abating and HAL would and will serve as a great secondary low cost airport.
Boy, was I wrong. The summer of 2008 came with the massive spike in fuel prices and as a prelude to impending implosion of the global economy, the bubble built by airlines in India burst.
In a perverse way the slowdown in growth gave operators of the new Bengaluru International Airport breathing room to plan for future expansion. I am sure this is not the type of breathing room they prefer, but to look for a positive side in the midst of gloom, they can now focus on Terminal 2 instead of an “Express Terminal”.
A monthly passenger and cargo comparison of fiscal 2008-2009 over the previous year. Clearly domestic traffic both passenger and cargo has taken the brunt of the slowdown. On the international front while passenger traffic was up, cargo took a beating with the global economic meltdown.
I recently sat down with senior officers of the airport operator Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), and plugged in their projections for the next 6 years with historic data to develop a 20 year chart of air traffic performance. The momentum of growth has only been interrupted. Bangalore air traffic will grow as will Bengaluru International Airport.