B'lore Intl airport to start operations on May 23

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Bangalore, May 20: The greenfield Bangalore International Airport (BIA) is set to launch its operations on May 23 as all the preparatory work for the airport was completed, project promoter said.

Albert Brunner, CEO of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), the international consortium which is promoting the project, said all the new systems and personnel had been installed and tested for effective operations. These included the ATC, CISF, immigration, police and customs. ''We are ready,'' he said. The company today announced 'critical passenger information' to ease transition to the BIA from the existing HAL airport. The opening of the new airport was delayed for more than a month due to delay in installation of the ATC equipment. The recently completed Trumpet Interchange, allows passengers easy access from NH 7 directly to the Terminal Building, and eases the flow of traffic from the city to the airport.

He said, in a release here, that comfortable transport from the city to the new BIA would be ensured. It would be comfortable, convenient and economical with the fleet of BMTC AC Volvo buses, which would ferry passengers from 26 points on nine routes.

The minimum fare for this service would be Rs 80 and maximum Rs 200.

Connectivity had been a teething problem faced by the new airport as the Bellary road leading to the airport had heavy traffic.

The long distance of nearly 40 km from the city to the new airport had been seen as one of the main problems.

This had led to various organisations and corporate leaders pressing for retention of the existing HAL airport along with the new one.

However, the concession agreement, arrived at between the private promoters of the airport and the Union Civil Aviation Ministry, stipulated that no other airport would operate commercial flights within 150 km radius. This had led to severe protests and the matter is now before the Supreme Court.

Mr Brunner said simplified parking facilities had been put in place with the passenger being picked up or dropped in front of terminal building. The automated parking facility could accommodate 2,000 cars.

At the new airport, careful planning had gone into the designing of the facilities to ensure the convenience of differently-abled passengers as well, he said. In addition, the walkways from the parking area to the passenger terminal building have gently sloping ramps throughout and are wide enough to accommodate large electric powered wheelchairs, which would be made available to these people, he said.

He said the new airport had made substantial efforts to make sure that it was reflective of the local culture and heritage. Out of the 473 employees, 53 per cent were locals, he added.


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