Special Correspondent

Divergent views on keeping HAL Airport open

The Prime Minister should intervene,

says Yechury

NEW DELHI: Though no date has been fixed, the new international airport at Devanahalli, near Bangalore, will open this month-end, Union Civil Aviation Secretary Ashok Chawla said here on Monday.

After a meeting with representatives of the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) and senior officials of the Karnataka Government, Mr. Chawla said that divergent views were expressed in the meeting on the question of letting the existing HAL Airport operate in the city. Addressing presspersons after the meeting, he said that citing legal and contractual obligations, the BIAL said it was not amenable to both the airports functioning in the city. Though no figures were available, the Karnataka government officials said that BIAL representatives had told them that revenue loss to it would be “significant” if the existing airport was allowed to function in Bangalore.

Asked if the ongoing Assembly elections in Karnataka were hampering the opening of new international airport, Mr. Chawla replied that it was an issue and the Civil Aviation Ministry was keeping the Election Commission informed.

He said that the third and last phase of polling in Karnataka would be held on May 22 and counting of votes would be taken up on May 25.