HAL seeks State help to reopen airport for civilian flights

The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) chairman R K Tyagi has sought the assistance of the State government to reopen the HAL airport for civilian flights.

At a meeting with Siddaramaiah on Wednesday morning, Tyagi requested all possible assistance from the State government to reopen the airport for civilian traffic.

According to HAL officials, the public limited company is seeking to reopen the airport for the past few months by persisting with the Centre and the State to give them the necessary approvals. The argument of HAL has been that with several global cities like New York and London having two airports, Bengaluru may also reap the benefits of reopening the HAL airport.

It is said that HAL is looking to open the airport for shorter routes to neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Reason: The existing airport does not have the necessary infrastructure facilities for housing bigger and modern aircraft with extended capacity, like Airbus A 380. At present, HAL has been catering to private chartered flights, with close to 20 or 30 landings each day. It is also providing facilities for the Indian Air Force. The HAL airport was closed for civilian operations in 2008 with the opening of the international airport in Devanahalli.

According to HAL officials, the public enterprise is seeking the assistance of the State government to provide logistical support so that they can convince the Centre to let them reopen the airport for civilian traffic. Representatives from the State government are scheduled to meet the Union Civil Aviation Minister later this week.

The issue of setting up an aerospace university with the assistance of HAL and a skill development centre for increasing the talent pool for the aerospace industry in the State also came up at the meeting.

Tyagi handed over a cheque for Rs 374 crore, the sales tax for the last quarter of 2013-14, to the chief minister. It is said that Siddaramaiah assured Tyagi of all possible assistance for the efforts to reopen the HAL airport and other projects.

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