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Major meeting at BIAL to decide on expansion – Bangalore Aviation

Major meeting at BIAL to decide on expansion

Apparently there is a major meeting currently underway at the Bengaluru International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) which will run till tomorrow. This meeting is focus on the expansion plans of the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA).

The new de-facto owners of the airport Mr. G.V. Krishna Reddy and son Mr. G.V. Sanjay Reddy of GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd. (GVK) will receive and discuss changes to the master plan from various architects and planners.

While analysts are expressing apprehension that GVK on the high price GVK has paid to acquire its 29% stake in BIAL — 12% from Unique Zurich for Rs. 4,846 million ($105 million) and 17% from Larsen and Toubro for Rs. 6,860 million ($149 million), the long term commitment of GVK cannot be doubted. By the time GVK acquires the stake of Siemens, the last of the initial private promoters, it will pay over Rs. 4,500 Crore ($1 billion). GVK has promised much needed capital to BIAL and has re-invigorated the long needed expansion.

The immediate need of expansion is the much maligned passenger terminal building. Long touted by BIAL’s former CEO Mr. Albert Brunner as having a capacity of 14+ million passengers per annum, it will now be expanded by almost 50% to a capacity of 15 million.

Also critically required is the apron expansion. With only 42 bays and a travel pattern which sees almost 50% of total daily traffic travel in just six peak hours (06:00~09:30 and 17:00~19:30), many domestic airlines, are complaining of inadequate space for overnight parking which prevents them from increasing Bangalore flights.

Frequent travellers from Bangalore would have observed the digging on the western side of the apron, in front of the cargo terminal buildings. The cargo operators too are complaining of increased cargo loading/unloading times, since the air-side road is not wide enough to handle two way traffic of full width pallet trucks.

Apron expansion had been stopped soon after the airport opened since BIAL complained of a lack of adequate funds given the long delays in the government accepting their User Development Fee demands.

GVK has set a target deadline of April 2011 for the completion of both expansions. Plans are also afoot for construction of the second runway (27L/09R).

Changes to the master plan should also be discussed in this two day meeting, and this includes the new terminal T2, but the final vision document is only expected to be presented for approval to the BIAL board of directors at their meeting on April 9th.

Information is that the GVK family is taking a very simple approach to the airport infrastructure — they will measure customer satisfaction. Not to say the current airport is bad, but there is scope for improvement, customer satisfaction is something all of us airport users can agree with.

Bangalore Aviation also recommends reading this article about GVK’s plans for BIAL in The Mint newspaper.

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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