Tuesday, October 06, 2020

Bengaluru could get a second airport in no time. But after these hurdles are removed

Bengaluru: Last week, the Karnataka cabinet decided that its concession agreement with the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) for the Kempegowda International Airport would be extended by 30 years if the firm revives and starts operating the city’s old Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Airport too.

The HAL airport, located in the city centre, was shut down in 2008 when the Kempegowda airport started functioning in Devanahalli on the outskirts of the city. There has been a long-standing demand to revive the HAL airport for passenger convenience.

However, the agreement signed between the Ministry of Civil Aviation and BIAL stated that all civilian flights to and from HAL airport would stop the moment the new airport started functioning on 30 March 2008. Another clause stated that no rival commercial airport would be allowed to function in a 150-km radius of the new for a 25-year period — until May 2033.

Currently, the HAL airport is only used for military, chartered and VIP flights. However, Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan told ThePrint that if everything goes according to plan, the HAL airport can handle domestic/short haul flights, reducing the pressure on the Kempegowda airport.

“The option given by the government to BIAL to run the HAL airport means it will have to waive off the clause disallowing any commercial airport to function in the 150-km radius,” he said.

06/10/20 Rohini Swamy/Print

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