Monday, August 02, 2021

Take-off delayed

Those who are staying in and around Electronics City would benefit from an airport at Hosur for sure. It would become an easier alternative for them instead of travelling all the way to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA). However, it seems like the Hosur airport is unlikely to get ready for commercial flights any time soon.

Responding to a question raised in the Lok Sabha General VK Singh, (retired) Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said that the concession agreement between the Union Government and Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) prohibits the opening of any new or existing domestic

airports within the aerial distance of 150 kilometres from KIA for a period of 25 years. (KIA commenced operations on May 24, 2008).

“BIAL has informed us that it may consider a one-time concession for the purpose of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS), subject to parties entering into an agreement with specific conditions. Considering the bid received under the ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik’ (UDAN) scheme and the request from the the government of Tamil Nadu to operationalise the Hosur airport, the Directorate of General, Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India, made a joint visit to Hosur and studied the feasibility of developing a passenger terminal apron to operate RCS flights,” Singh said.

He further said that this project would take an investment of Rs 30 crore approximately. M/S Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Limited (TAAL), who own and operate the Hosur airstrip, have stated their inability to bear the cost and have recommended that the entire investment towards building additional infrastructure should be borne by the government, he said.

“However, infrastructural upgradation or development of private airports is not covered under the revival and development of the airport scheme. The government of Tamil Nadu has recommended that TAAL and BIAL enter an appropriate agreement to operationalise the Hosur airport for RCS flights,” said Singh. Tamil Nadu has been pitching for its Thali airport (near Hosur) for a long time now as it wants to attract maximum air travellers from in and around Electronic City and Jigani. Earlier, the civil aviation ministry had said that the flight operations were delayed as BIAL wanted an NOC although Hosur was selected under the Centre’s RCS in the first phase. Tamil Nadu’s contention is that the Thali airport is located at a distance of 28 kilometres from Electronics City (around half an hour away) while commuters from Electronic City and other areas travel for more than two hours to reach the Kempegowda International Airport (around 54 kilometres away).

02/08/21 Sridhar Vivan/Bangalore Mirror

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