Connectivity Still Bedevils Swanky KIA
Even as the Terminal 1-A of the Kempegowda International Airport was thrown open to the public on Saturday, the airport authorities are already looking to expand further to meet the demands of the increasing number of passengers using the airport.
With the city growing more towards the airport, real estate development in the area will also be planned in the coming year, said G V Sanjay Reddy, MD, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).
“We have identified areas near the airport which can be developed. Whenever an airport comes up in a city, we see that the whole city’s development moves towards it,” he said.
“All aspects of an airport city will be looked into. We are still waiting for a few approvals from the government before this can take off,” he added.
GVK Reddy, Co-Chairman, BIAL, said the expanded airport can cater to 20-25 million passengers. “In another five years, we will reach this strength, and then we will have to expand further,” he added. As part of future expansion plans the cost estimation has already begun.
‘Cut VAT, Increase Connectivity’
Civil Aviation Secretary K N Srivatsava said in order to increase the number of passengers using the airport to 20 million, the government will have to cut value added tax (VAT) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) from 28 per cent to 5 per cent.
“This will attract more airlines, more investors and provide a sustainable economic scenario, paving the way for Bangalore becoming a robust aviation hub,” he said.
Apart from reducing VAT, he said road and rail connectivity projects linking the airport needed to be fast-tracked. “Connectivity to the airport is crucial and only the NH-7 connection is not enough. In 2005, various road and rail projects were planned, but these are yet to be completed and need to be fast-tracked,” he said.
“It is possible to have multi-modal connectivity to the airport, similar to Hyderabad -- via road as well as rail. Multi-modal transport is doable and if done, it can open up opportunities to accommodate many more passengers,” said Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas M Veerappa Moily.
Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said the ministry was working in public-private partnership (PPP) models to have an equitable and affordable aviation sector. Around 20 airports had been identified to be maintained and developed under PPP models. Of these, the process had already begun for six airports including Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Guwahati, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.
CM Thanks Farmers
Siddaramaiah recalled the sacrifice made by farmers for construction of the airport. “Around 4,300 acres of land was given up by these farmers through the consent award system. This land may have cost about `5 lakh per acre then, but is easily worth `2-3 crore today. It was a huge sacrifice made by the farmers and we need to be grateful to them for it,” he added.
After naming the city airport after Kempegowda, the airport will now also feature a statue of the city’s founder. The proposal came from Union Minister Veerappa Moily, who said: “It is good that Kempegowda, who built Bangalore, be remembered with the airport being named after him. I think it is only befitting if the airport also had a big statue of Kempegowda. I hope my suggestion will be considered.” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the issue had already been discussed with G V K Reddy and it was agreed that a statue of Kempegowda will be constructed in front of the airport.