Delhi/Bangalore Bureaus

Option of allowing small aircraft to use HAL Airport will be kept open

DGCA inspection report awaited

Another meeting to be held on May 12

NEW DELHI/ BANGALORE: The Union Government on Tuesday said that the new Bangalore International Airport would be made operational by the last week of May, while keeping open the option of allowing small aircraft to use the existing HAL Airport.

“We have given them [Bangalore International Airport Limited] various options including allowing aircraft less than 80 seaters to operate out of the existing airport,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told presspersons in New Delhi.

He said that detailed discussions were held with the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the operators of the new airport, keeping in mind the advice of the Karnataka High Court regarding renegotiation on user development fee and retaining the HAL Airport for commercial operations.

“There are legal issues, contractual obligations and complexities. We discussed all that. No decision has been taken, but the new Bangalore airport at Devanahalli will be made operational in the last week of May. We will meet again on May 12 to examine various aspects,” Mr. Patel said, after chairing the renegotiation meeting. The meeting was attended by the Karnataka Chief Secretary, senior officials of the Civil Aviation Ministry and Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

Report awaited

Meanwhile, Karnataka Principal Secretary (Industries and Commerce) V.P. Baligar told The Hindu that the formal inspection report of the new airport from the DGCA was still awaited. The BIAL had to provide more details on levying user development fee. Any decision on retaining or closing the HAL Airport, and user development fee was likely to influence the electorate in the State that is going to the polls and hence it was resolved to take the final decision at a later stage, he said.

When contacted, a BIAL spokesperson said that the company had “taken note” of the suggestions made by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. However, the BIAL insisted on the “importance of having a single aviation platform”, implying that the two airports could not be functional at the same time.

More In: Today's Paper