BENGALURU: Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Thursday informed the Lok Sabha that the HAL Airport cannot be reopened for now as agreements signed with private parties had to be honoured. The Kempegowda International Airport is set to have a second runway and still has capacity, he pointed out.
He was responding to a request made by Bangalore Central MP P C Mohan to the aviation ministry calling for the reopening of the airport. Mohan stated, “The Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru has become the third largest airport in the country. Air traffic has already increased and the second airstrip is also getting ready. The way it is growing, we need a second airport now. Does the Ministry have any proposal to reopen the HAL airport?”
The Civil Aviation Minister said, “The Bangalore airport has already had an agreement with the government and I think if I remember correctly (because it is not part of the main question), up to 2035 or 2030, no other airport can come up within 150 km (of KIA). I am not correct on the year and it is subject to memory. So after that it is open for all.”
Mohan again pressed the issue and called upon the government to take a re-look into the matter, particularly because the airport was getting congested. “A city like Bengaluru requires a second airport. A city like London has got two airports. New York has got two airports. The government should definitely rethink on the matter.”
Raju stated that when the policy of privatisation of airports was started in the country, Hyderabad and Bengaluru were among the first few that happened in the country.