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'Work on Bangalore intnl airport on schedule'

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, July 7: Work on the Bangalore International airport at Devanahalli, about 35 km from here, is in progress at a brisk pace to complete the project by April 2008.

The first-ever greenfield international airport project, being built on public-private participation, was likely to turn into a beehive of activity once the Rs 1,930 crore project was completed on schedule.

Karnataka Infrastructure Minister B Sriramulu, who visited the airport to inspect the ongoing work, expressed satisfaction over the pace of the work. The airport would go a long way in attracting further foreign investment, trade and passenger traffic, he hoped.

Bangalore International Airport Ltd CEO Albert Brunner told a group of reporters, who accompanied the Minister, that the work was on schedule and the airport would be thrown open for air traffic on April two, 2008. Test runs would be conducted from October or November 2007. The new airport was expected to handle 6.7 million passengers in its first year of operation, 8.5 million by 2010 and by 2040 it was expected to cross 40 million. The project, launched on July 2, 2005, would be completed in 33 months.

Stating that 28 per cent of work had been completed in one year, he said the airport, once completed, would have a 4,000 m runway, a sprawling terminal building measuring 7,500 sqmt on each floor and a 65-m-high control tower. The apron could accommodate 40 aircraft at a time. Work was on simultaneously at the terminal building, access road, runway, cargo handling and apron area. In the second phase, to be completed by 2010, the airport would have a second runway, 1.91 km away from the first one, extended terminal building, taxi way, car park and other facilities, he added.

The project, built under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) mechanism, was being jointly promoted by the Centre, State and a consortium of private companies like Siemens Project Ventures, Larsen and Toubro and Unique Zurich Airport. While private parties had 74 per cent stake in the project, the remaining was owned by the two Governments.

Infrastructure Development Department Principal Secretary Vinay Kumar said a proposal to build a double line rail project connecting the airport with the city had been submitted to the Cabinet and a decision was likely to be taken this month. The project was likely to be built on BOOT system and tenders would be called once it was approved by the Government.

At present, air link to this teeming city, which does not have an international airport, was being handled by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd's airport on the outskirts of the city. Nearly 200 flights land and take off from the city, including a number of international aircraft. The authorities were finding it difficult to handle the ever-increasing air traffic. Once the new airport was ready, all flights, including the domestic ones, would be shifted to the new airport.


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