Special Correspondent

Formal inauguration in two weeks after the elections

Car parking fee to be Rs. 40 for a two-hour slot

Bangalore: Barely two hours before it announced the postponement of operations by 24 hours, Chief Executive Officer of the Bangalore International Airport Ltd. Albert Brunner listed the facilities available at the new airport at Devanahalli.

Mr. Bruner said the new airport would be inaugurated “with no celebration, keeping in mind the election code.” “We will have a formal inauguration within two weeks after the elections,” he said. The construction of the trumpet interchange would reduce the reduce travel from the Hebbal flyover to about 20 minutes, he said. Moreover, the three transport options for travel to and from the airport — by buses, cars and taxis — would considerably reduce travel time to the new airport. “We would have liked a fourth option — high speed train travel — but that will happen later,” he added.

The car park at the airport can accommodate 2,000 cars. In addition, there is space for 700 cars used by airport employees. Car parking fees will be levied at the rate of Rs. 40 for a two-hour time slot; every subsequent hour of occupation would be charged at the rate of Rs. 20.

Mr. Brunner said the BIAL website would carry “live traffic updates and a route finder,” which would assist travellers. The 53 check-in counters and 18 self check-in counters, which would be linked to an automatic baggage handling, he said, would enable faster movement of passengers through the airport. The new airport lays emphasis on the concept of “travel retail.”

Mr. Brunner said the inspiration for the layout and design of the outlets has come from the Lalbagh. Asked about fears that the new airport would hit a capacity constrain soon, Mr. Brunner said the new airport in its present shape can handle an annual passenger traffic of 40 to 50 million. “We are planning construction activity for Phase II in January, 2009,” he said.

In response to the criticism from the Air Traffic Controllers that the lack of a back-up lift at the control tower was a major lacuna, Mr. Brunner said: “Our building plan for the ATC were approved a long while ago and we cannot change it now. He Brunner categorically rejected the demand for a renegotiation of the concession agreement. “Our stand is that we cannot compromise on the agreement. We have invested more than Rs. 3,500 crore in the project,” he said. Mr Brunner said the Director-General for Civil Aviation’s license to BIAL is valid for six months.