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First anniversary of Bangalore airport: BIAL CEO Marcel Hungerbuehler interview – Part 3

In the continuing series of interviews with Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) CEO Marcel Hungerbuehler on the first anniversary of Bengaluru International Airport, yesterday in part two, we focussed on the revenue streams. Today in part three we focus on the airlines and routes present and future.

Part 3 – Airlines

Q1. Which airlines is BIAL targeting and trying to invite to Bangalore to commence operations ?
Q2. The foreign members of the airline operators committee (AOC) is complaining they are being discriminated against since BIAL is offering discounts to domestic airlines including those who take extended periods of credit, when compared to them who pay on time. Any comments ?
Q3. What is Marcel Hungerbuehler’s take on the airlines situation in Bangalore personally. Do you feel there is adequate (a) International Capacity (b) Domestic Capacity? Where are the opportunities to grow?

With regard to new airlines, BIAL is constantly looking at attracting new airlines to make Bangalore a regional hub for South India. Currently, we are focusing on bringing in airlines like Air Asia, Etihad Airways, Qatar Airways, China Eastern Airways, China Southern, Jazeera Airways, Japan Airlines, ANA Airways, Private Air and many more to connect the city to destinations like Abu Dhabi, Doha, Bahrain, Guangzhou, Beijing, Narita, Tokyo and Amsterdam.

However, we need to be realistic, airlines hardly ever take up new routes during an economic downturn as it normally takes three years for a new route to reach break-even. Yet we are happy to note that the number of international flights to/from Bangalore have increased by 21% in 2008/9 compared with 2007/8. This is one of the reasons why Routes has awarded BIAL with the marketing prize this year.

BIAL does not discriminate in pricing between international and domestic airlines, but has logically based its pricing depending on the weight and type (wide body and narrow body) of the aircraft. Landing, parking and aero bridge prices depend on which category the aircraft falls into.

For 2009/10, the capacity is certainly adequate as many airlines operate with a seat load factor around 70%. This is not enough for a profitable operation, neither on international nor domestic routes.

Please visit tomorrow for Part four – Future expansion

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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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