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BIAL in talks with Indigo, Air India for South India hub

Experts have argued that Bengaluru is a prospect hub for not just Indian airlines but also international players owing to the immense business potential the city has to offer. Another major advantage is the new runway and heavy dependence on automation in the airport, a big draw for airlines.
Last Updated : 11 October 2023, 22:55 IST

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Bengaluru airport could be the hub for the two major Indian airlines Indigo and Air India, declared Hari Marar, the managing director and chief executive of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) at the Business Conclave organised by FICCI. 

“For years India did not have an airline that had the gravitas and an airline-airport partnership that would enable the creation of a hub. This was amazingly capitalised upon by our neighbours in Singapore and Dubai by creating fantastic hubs. I think the time has come for Indigo and Air India to create an airline-airport partnership which will create a hub here,” he said. 

Earlier this year, Union civil aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia revealed the government’s plan to transform Indian airports into aviation hubs, while urging domestic airlines to help set up an international civil aviation hub in the country.

As for players, Tata-owned Air India, alongside expanding its domestic footprint, is exploring a hub in the south of India, its chief executive Campbell Wilson had said. Given AirAsia, which is now a part of Air India, had a huge hub in Bengaluru, the airport stands a high chance of becoming the second hub for the airline after augmenting its operations in Mumbai. 

As DH reported in August, Indigo’s head of global sales Vinay Malhotra, in an exclusive interaction, mentioned that the airline has seen a higher number of transit passengers who are opting to fly via an Indian city between foreign destinations including Dubai to Phuket,  Bahrain to Phuket and Tbilisi to Bangkok among others.

A hub is an airport that acts as a transfer point for passengers flying to their final destination. 

Experts have argued that Bengaluru is a prospect hub for not just Indian airlines but also international players owing to the immense business potential the city has to offer. Another major advantage is the new runway and heavy dependence on automation in the airport, a big draw for airlines. 

That many international airlines including Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and Cathay Pacific starting operations/ ramping up capacity in Bengaluru, is a clear indication that the airport is set to become the next big hub in the years to come. “Bengaluru allows us to connect passengers from all across the south,” Virgin Atlantic’s country manager for South Asia Alex McEwan told DH in a recent interview. 

Moreover, French luxury fashion Chanel showed interest to open a boutique store in BIAL, Marar informed during his address. 

BIAL is India’s third largest airport connecting 76 domestic destinations and 25 international destinations with 36 airlines and 13 freighters availing its facilities, Marar said. The airport that saw 31.9 million passengers in FY23, just 1.4 million short of the pre-pandemic level, is set to 39-40 million passengers in FY24, he added.

Before terminal 2  was created, BIAL had 25,000 employees across the campus. The airport now has 38,000 employees, which it aims to increase to 50,000 in the next 2 years, Marar said. 

The newly inaugurated of Terminal 2 in Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo by B K Janardhan
The newly inaugurated of Terminal 2 in Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo by B K Janardhan
The newly inaugurated of Terminal 2 in Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo by B K Janardhan
The newly inaugurated of Terminal 2 in Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru on Saturday. DH Photo by B K Janardhan
An image of terminal 2 of the Kempegowda international airport shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his twitter account.  
An image of terminal 2 of the Kempegowda international airport shared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his twitter account.  
Hari Marar
Hari Marar
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Published 11 October 2023, 22:55 IST

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