Staff Reporter

Operating both airports not financially viable, says BIAL CEO

Official says city will need second airport after about 20 years

‘Closure of HAL Airport will hit city’s economy’

Bangalore: The demand for retaining commercial operations at the HAL Airport even after the opening of new airport at Devanahalli has surfaced again.

Many of those who attended a seminar on “Should the HAL airport be closed?” organised by the Centre for Public Policy of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore favoured operation of flights at HAL airport.

The former Chief Secretary A. Ravindra, who chaired the seminar, said that the possibility of operating both the airports could be examined as nowadays air travel was not restricted to only the rich.

While Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) Chief Executive Officer Albert Brunner said that it was not financially viable to operate both the airports, Deputy General Manager of HAL (Airport Operations) S.R. Iyer said that the existing airport should not be closed even after opening of the new airport developed by the BIAL.

Mr. Brunner relied upon the agreement signed with the government for closing the HAL Airport after opening of the new airport.

However, Mr. Iyer pointed out that the city needed two airport as it had witnessed a steep increase in air passenger traffic as against the projection made when Devanahalli airport was planned.

Devesh Agarwal, member of the Bangalore Chamber of Industries and Commerce, favoured retaining of HAL Airport stating that closure of the existing airport would have adverse impact on city’s economy.

However, V.P Baligar, Principal Secretary, Infrastructure, Industry and Commerce, said that the State Government has to honour its agreement with the BIAL with respect closing of the HAL Airport.

Mr. Baligar was of the view that non-honouring of the agreement might send wrong signals to future private investors in the State. According to Mr. Baligar, the city would need a second airport only after about 20 years.