The construction of Terminal II at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will not be completed by April 1, 2021 as planned. Construction work on the ambitious project had come to a halt on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. With migrants heading to their hometowns, labour too may pose a problem.
Hari Marar, MD and CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), said that they anticipate a delay of anywhere between six and 12 months. “As far as rehabilitation of the old runway is concerned, it will be completed before this year-end as planned,” he said on Tuesday.
Terminal II may not be the only project to be affected. Expansion of the roads will also get “progressively delayed” due to unavailability of labour. The BIAL is widening the 1.4-km main access road from Trumpet Interchange to the airport where the existing 2+2 lane road will be upgraded to 5 lanes on either side. Work had begun last year.
“COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has had an impact on our projects. Many of our labourers have gone back home. It will take us some time to get them all back. However, 2,300 labourers are working with us and construction is going on right now,” he added.
No job loss at BIAL
It has been a tough two months for BIAL, which saw almost no revenue since the lockdown. “However, we have not terminated any of our employees and we also encourage our partners not to lay off their employees,” Mr. Marar said.
With the domestic aviation sector slowly taking off, Kempegowda International Airport is seeing some activity. BIAL officials said that at present KIA is handling 65 arrivals and departures a day as against the normal 350 arrivals and departures.
BMTC AC buses to KIA from today
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will resume its AC bus operations to KIA from Wednesday. BMTC plans to operate 23 Vayu Vajra (AC Volvo buses) buses to KIA from Kempegowda Bus Stand (KBS), Satellite Bus Stand on Mysuru Road, Banashankari Bus Stop, Electronics City, and BTM Layout.
Contactless procedure at KIA
Reduction or almost no physical contact, right from parking space to boarding the flight, is now the mantra at KIA. Following the new procedures, passengers were seen carrying e-passes or printed passes and scanning them at contactless self-service kiosks set up at every step, including check-in, to collect and affix baggage.
All the counters are furnished with magnified glass screens and safe distance markers are placed on the floor. At the security check, body scanning is being done using Door Frame Metal Detectors (DFMD). Stamping of the boarding pass has been suspended.
Meanwhile, according to a BIAL survey, 90% of passengers surveyed felt air travel to be a safe mode of transport while 87% felt that airports were safer than trains and bus stations. Around 60% of the passengers cited work as a reason for their travel.