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Airlines, staff want existing airports to stay

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As per this story in Business-Standard:

"... lobbying to prevent closure of the existing facilities — at the Airport Authority of India’s Begumpet airport in Hyderabad and HAL airport in Bangalore — has got louder"

We have been predicting on our forums and blogs here that these noises will grow louder. And this newspaper story quotes an unnamed 'official' from Civil Aviation ministry to tell us just that:

“Yes, the crescendo is rising. In fact, we recently had a meeting in the ministry to discuss this, but we are bound by the contract,” said a civil aviation ministry official ...The contracts with Bangalore ... and Hyderabad International Airport(s) provide for closure of the existing facilities when the new airports start.

Hyderabad is slightly better placed on the City to Airport connectivity situation. But the plans include new expressways that wont be 100% ready when HIAL opens. And just like Bangalore, there are no concrete plans for public transportation (Railway or Metro link) yet. So we could express very similar developments in both cities - keep old airports open for low cost carriers, or at least till speedy and convenient connectivity arrives.

Lets keep watching.

Comments

blrsri's picture

private infra projects..

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traffic..distance..are all very valid points for retaining the HAL apt. But what about Brunner's plight..He heads a private consortium and he needs to start making money for them without delay! They have also gone ahead and building the trumphet interchange and ready to work on the train connectivity.. My take is just that we should complete the supporting infrastructure projects and get going.. If the work on the traffic signal less travel(precast underpasses) from windsor manor to hebbal flyover is indeed compelted then I would not see much difference..50-60 min flat journey from mg road to the new airport..atleast for few months..
tsubba's picture

BIAL-HTGT

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i wish the industry lobbies the center to speedup the clearances for rail (1-2 years). lobby laloo for crs. need to track down the exact status of that DPR. did it get state clearence? what happens if we have pres rule?
Naveen N's picture

If the Civil Aviation

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If the Civil Aviation Ministry tries to retain the old airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad, and it doesn't give a stake in the old airports to the private parties (BIAL and GMR), then the private parties will immediately sue the govt. Giving a stake in the old airports may not be easy given that HAL owns the B'lore one and AAI the Begumpet a/p and both would be loath to part with the already dwindling revenues. Since the concessionaires and other suppliers would have signed contracts keeping in mind the traffic projections for the new airports, any adverse changes in these projections will land both the private parties as well as the CA Ministry in legal trouble. What if they obtain a stay order preventing the new a/p from opening? Even if the old airports are kept open for LCCs and/or regional flights, what about the issue of connecting flights? DO we've any data on the percentage of people flying into Bangalore/Hyderabad to take connecting domestic/international flights? Do we really have so much air traffic to justify having two airports so close to each other and replicating infrastructure?
tsubba's picture

HAL's arguments

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Second runway not the answer to congestion (The Hindu) The old demand to retain the HAL airport for civilian flights is back. With the phenomenal increase in air traffic to and from Bangalore in the last five years, the Bangalore International Airport Limited’s (BIAL) top brass was under immense pressure to let the old airport handle at least the domestic flights. But BIAL’s refusal to do so, and its assertion that a second runway at Devanahalli would solve the problem is now being questioned. Traffic expectations “BIAL’s business plan was based on traffic of 3.7 million passengers a year. Today, that figure has already crossed 10 million. The capacity of the present runway will saturate in two years. The number of aircraft movements in a day will touch 500 in less than two years,” said a top HAL Airport official to The Hindu. Problems There is another problem: a second runway will add to the air congestion because the Indian Air Force (IAF) Air Base at Yelahanka is just a few kilometres away. “Even if the second runway takes off at Devanahalli, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) will have a lot of bottlenecks and congestion. BIAL and the Air Force Base will generate 500 to 700 aircraft movements daily, thus causing big problems,” said an official. Implications The new airport might just face the same air safety problems that the HAL airport now endures. Recently, a domestic flight that had been allowed to land had to abandon the effort mid-flight because the pilot spotted another aircraft on the same runway. With more flights being added almost every other month, the situation could only get more dangerous. According to the HAL airport official, all the BIAL stakeholders were ensured of returns even before the airport became operational. “There is a justifiable reason to renegotiate the agreement,” the official noted. Hub status The argument that the Devanahalli airport could eventually become a hub, too, has its problems. South India already has a lot of international airports with direct flights from locations such as Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Hyderabad. “There is so much competition for the hub status. You cannot expect a passenger from Kochi to come all the way to Bangalore to catch an international flight. The argument is not very convincing.” Too far With barely four months to go for the BIAL airport’s official launch, the connectivity to the Devanahalli aerodromme appears nowhere near perfection. For just a half hour flight to Chennai, a passenger would have to travel for two and a half hours by road from the city to Devanahalli, and spend another 1.5 hours at the airport. The Shatabdi Express could be a more economical and faster option! =============== My question: What were they doing all these days?
silkboard's picture

exactly - why now?

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Why is everyone raising all these points now? Only because GoK has not delivered on BIAL connectivity. About Yelahanka, congestion and all - Bangalore air traffic growth has been beating projections for over an year now. So back to the same questions - why bring it up now? BTW, I love this 'official' word. You never know if the newspaper editor made things up. And who exactly is an 'official' - an ATC controller? The HAL airport manager? How many 'officials' does HAL airport have? On a busy day, SFO handles 33-34 flights per hour (~ 800 flights), and that too with another airport, Oakland, right across the bay. Why will BIAL with two runways and Yelahanka about same distance away as SFO is from Oakland not be able to handle 500 flights a day?
tsubba's picture

hal

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official is like we say, 'my friend who works there was saying that NRN is going to paint the head office black'. it must have gone through a bunch of reviews and clearances from the aviation ministry. irrespective of projections, the civial aviation ministry approved BIAL master plan is designed for 40 mil. i.e., they knew that eventually BIAL will have to handle > 500 flights/ day even at the clearance stage. there are no path breaking innovations hapenning in the technology involved in handling air traffic. what ever is there is likely to be current for another 10-20 years. the basic tech even in the US is not much different from India. infact the improvements US is planning now, india too has set the ball rolling. look for GAGAN navigation system. here is a basic article on gagan. in a rush couldn't put in a more detailed link http://www.mycoordinates....
thebangalorean's picture

BMTC Volvo buses

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Over the last month, I have observed that more than 10 BMTC-branded Volvo buses are being used to run aircraft-to-terminal shuttle services for Kingfisher Airlines at Bangalore Airport. This is so, even during peak hours. Has the BMTC withdrawn Volvo routes from the city and redeployed buses here to earn revenues?

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