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Widespread support for 2nd airport

City planners and civic activists weigh in on the need for another airport in Bengaluru.
Last Updated : 27 June 2024, 21:19 IST

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Recently, Karnataka’s infrastructure development minister M B Patil asked for a feasibility study for a second airport in Bengaluru. He mentioned that Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) has become the third-busiest airport in the country, drawing 52 million fliers per year. 

A 25-year agreement stating that no other airport can come up within a 150 km-radius of KIA comes to an end in 2033. It was signed between the government and Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), the consortium that runs KIA. It is essential to prepare for a second airport now, Patil added.

Incidentally, Tamil Nadu chief minister M K Stalin announced on Thursday that Hosur will get an international airport soon. This will help Bengalureans who live in areas like Electronics City and Koramangala. 

City planners and civic activists weigh in on the need for another airport in Bengaluru.

Urbanist Ashwin Mahesh says, “The important question (to consider) is how many people will be living in the Bangalore Metropolitan Region (from Hoskote to Ramanagara, and from Nelamangala to Sarjapur and Hosur) by 2040? If that is going to be more than 25 million people, then multiple airports will be needed. Most metropolitan regions across the world with over 25 million residents have more than two airports.” Mumbai already has two airports and Delhi will have another soon, he states.  He says while planning the new airport, the government should assess which direction the city will expand in and which pockets will see more economic growth. “An airport is considered a magnet and an anchor for regional economic development,” he reasons. 

Before KIA came up, the idea of an airport in Channapatna was mooted. The intent was to benefit Mysuru and surrounding areas. This was in the ’90s. The plan was subsequently moved to north Bengaluru. Architect and urban designer Naresh Narasimhan thinks that the location of an airport should be such that it balances both the state-level and regional aspirations. “A logical option would be to build it (the second airport) to the southwest of Bengaluru,” he adds. 

Civic evangelist V Ravichandar supports the need for a second airport, citing the example of cities like London. He has two suggestions. “The HAL airport could be considered for short-haul flights. For this, BIAL will have to handle the airport and be given the rights to refurbish its facilities. For a new airport, we should possibly consider Ramanagara as the location. This will serve two cities — Bengaluru and Mysuru,” he explains. For instance, Kochi’s international airport serves fliers in two districts, Ernakulam and Thrissur. It will boost job creation and investments, he adds.

Meanwhile, KIA’s T1 to expand

A spokesperson from BIAL told Metrolife that the work on refurbishing KIA’s Terminal 1 (T1) will commence in August 2024. Upon completion, the total capacity of the airport will increase to 60 million passengers per annum.  

The project will encompass approximately 30 sub-projects, covering baggage handling system, departure lounges/hold rooms, a silent zone for relaxation and check-in with a dedicated entry for passengers with carry-on bags. It will also include relocation and enhancement of lounges for VIPs and CIPs (Commercially Important Persons). The retail and F&B zones will also undergo a significant facelift, the spokesperson added.

BIAL sources refused to comment if they will be involved in the construction of the new airport.

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Published 27 June 2024, 21:19 IST

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