P. Manoj

Board of Bangalore International Airport Limited will hold discussions today

The airport project is estimated to cost Rs. 1,411 crores Redesigning the first phase entails an additional investment of about Rs. 400 crores It envisages an increase in the size of the terminal, number of aircraft stands and more taxiway layouts The redesign will not disturb the project schedule

Bangalore: The Board of Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) will meet on Friday to discuss a plan to redesign the initial phase of the first greenfield private-sector owned and operated airport in the country coming up at Devanahalli near Bangalore to meet demand for higher traffic flows.

The redesigning entails an additional capital investment of about Rs. 400 crores over and above the original project cost of Rs. 1,411 crores. "The additional cost will be met partly through extra equity contribution from the project promoters and the balance borrowed from the market," sources familiar with the developments told The Hindu .

"BIAL is redesigning the first phase of the Bangalore international airport project. The redesign will see an increase in the size of the terminal, number of aircraft stands, more taxiway layouts and "landside" infrastructure. However, the redesign will be incorporated in the present project schedule as BIAL is committed to opening the new airport as planned in April 2008. The BIAL Board will consider the redesign plan, including ways to raise additional funds, on Friday," the sources said.

The airport development plan is staggered across several phases. The initial phase development to be completed by 2008 includes a passenger terminal, a 4,000-metre-long runway, entrance/exit taxiways, isolation bay, airside road system, two-way access road, air traffic complex, aeronautical equipment, rescue and fire-fighting facilities, airline support facilities, fuel farm, terminal parking, administration and maintenance buildings, ground equipment maintenance area, cargo complex and boundary/security wall.

A recent study conducted by Lufthansa Consulting (LHC) has estimated the international airport's opening year (2008) traffic flow to be 6.7 million passengers.

"Given the new traffic figures, the facilities proposed initially would be grossly inadequate to cater to the new peak-hour demand," the sources pointed out.

BIAL went in for a revised traffic forecast after Bangalore experienced strong growth in traffic at the HAL airport from 2.3 million passengers in 2001 to about five million passengers in 2005, as economic success spurred greater demand for air travel.

Besides, the Union Government's policy to liberalise the sector has encouraged a number of international airlines to fly into Bangalore and facilitated new airlines to operate in the domestic sector.

LHC analysed potential traffic flows from 2005 to 2025 to arrive at a new traffic forecast that showed a significant increase in passenger figures and aircraft movements in the coming years. "The study revealed that the actual traffic would overshoot the initial traffic forecasts by a very large margin. As a result, the new airport will face congestion from the day it becomes operational in April 2008. So, we are creating more space in the first phase to cater to higher traffic demands," the sources said.

Private promoters, such as Siemens Projects Ventures, Larsen & Toubro and Unique Zurich Airport, hold 74 per cent stake in BIAL with Airports Authority of India and Karnataka State Investment and Industrial Development Corporation holding the balance 26 per cent equity in the special purpose vehicle that is implementing the project.