BANGALORE: Despite being operational for over four years, the lack of an upgraded system at the Bangalore International Airport (BIA) is leading to losses of up to Rs 1.4 crore for airlines annually. Dubbed an international airport, BIA is still not equipped with the CAT-II landing system that all the other major airports in the country introduced years ago.
While the aviation industry in the country is already bogged down by a serious financial crisis because of rising aviation fuel prices, the latest in the list of worries for the airlines and pilots is the lack of an upgraded landing system at the BIA.
The present CAT-I Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the BIA is not equipped to provide accurate weather readings. This is the reason airlines are losing about Rs 1.4 crore annually due to diversions and turnarounds. “Each diversion amounts to Rs 1.4 lakh loss to domestic airlines and about Rs 4.2 lakh for an international flight,” SR Iyer, a former air traffic controller, informed Express. Reiterating that the upgradation of the airport would be a proportional investment, Iyer explained, “The per minute operation cost today stands at Rs 4,500 - Rs 5,000 and merely because a system is not upgraded, airlines are bearing additional operation costs. Introducing CAT-II will provide reliability of operations in airlines. The BIAL has already spent a huge sum on expanding services. Upgrading to CAT-II will cost them about Rs 5-6 crore and this will be a proportional investment.”
Sources within BIA revealed to Express that the authorities might upgrade their landing system when they shut down the runway for seven hours for over two months from March 21.