Thursday, September 29, 2022

Bengaluru airport T2 launch soon; capacity boost, aesthetics enthuse flyers

 The busiest airport in South India, Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru, is preparing for a significant capacity increase with the launch of Terminal-2 in a few weeks. This project will also expedite flight turnaround time, add a third entrance to the airport, and reduce aviation fuel usage.

Before the COVID pandemic, the airport’s passenger capacity had surpassed 35 million per year, making it the third busiest in the country. The first phase of T2, scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of this year, will increase yearly passenger traffic by 25 million.

The pandemic did delay the terminal’s launch by close to two years. Preferring anonymity, a civil aviation expert revealed that even now, only half of the new terminal will be complete. “In two to three years, KIA will overtake Mumbai as India’s second busiest airport. The new terminal will then be under-capacity. So, they will need to expedite the launch of both phases, much ahead of the planned two years. Only then will they get a bit ahead of the demand curve,” he said.

He estimated that by 2033-35, the Bengaluru airport’s upgraded capacity will be saturated. “You can push it up to 90 mppa (million passengers per annum), not more. Delhi airport has three runways, with a capacity exceeding 100 mppa. Now, they are planning a fourth runway. KIA has no space left even for a third terminal,” the expert pointed out.

Built around a “garden” theme, the new ₹13,000-crore T2 will have a total built-up area of 2.54 lakh sqm in the first phase and 4.41 lakh sqm in the second phase. It was initially scheduled for a March 2021 launch. But the deadline was extended by a year and, later, to June before settling for a 2022 final-quarter opening.

The commissioning of a new runway with Category-III Instrument Landing System (ILS) complements the gains from T2. It would mean a quantum leap in the number of flights and Air Traffic Movements (ATMs), even during low visibility periods.

“T2 will open in a big way for the airlines, which can now operate more flights. Moreover, since restrictions of terminal capacity have been removed, it will offer a lot of flexibility,” said airport mobility analyst Sanjeev Dyamannavar.

29/09/22 Rasheed Kappan/Federal

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