No going back on concessional agreement: BIAL CEO

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Bangalore, May 21 (UNI) The private promoters of the greenfield Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) today ruled out any review of the concessional agreement to allow the operation of the existing HAL Airport.

Under the concessional agreement between the promoters, Union Civil Aviation Ministry and the Karnataka government, no airport can operate commercial flights within a radius of 150 km from BIA which begins its operations from 0001 hrs on May 24.

The Union Civil Aviation Ministry, late this evening, had instructed BIAL to postpone the start of the operations a day later than May 23, fixed earlier, due to technical reasons.

Speaking to reporters here, BIAL CEO Albert Brunner said this had been made clear to the two governments during last week's meeting called under the court direction to renegotiate the concessional agreement.

''We have told the two governments that we cannot go back on the agreement and accept the operation of HAL Airport, which would be closed for civilian flights once the operations begin in BIA.

''However, the chapter is not yet closed as the matter is in the High Court'', he added.

There had been widespread calls for retaining the HAL Airport for different reasons.

The BIA is located 40 km away from here and its takes nearly two hours to reach the airport due to bad connectivity.

Further, the new airport will not be able to handle the fast growing passenger traffic expected to grow to 15 million from the present 11 million, those who are demanding the operations of the two airports argue.

Dismissing this argument, Mr Brunner said the BIA could handle up to 15 million people per year without any expansion.

''The single runway is not a problem. The airport can handle 20 million passenger flow. We expect a passenger traffic of 12 million to 12.5 million in the first year,'' he added.

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