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Handing over HAL Airport to BIAL on cards

The facility is now being used by military aircraft, VIP and chartered flights.

Published: 24th October 2021 05:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th October 2021 05:08 AM   |  A+A-

BIAL |EXPRESS

Express News Service

HUBBALLI:  Hopes on the revival of HAL Airport for domestic operations were rekindled on Saturday by Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi, who said that handing over the airport to Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL), which manages the Kempegowda International Airport, is under consideration.

Responding to a demand during an infrastructure meeting here, Joshi said that he and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai have already spoken to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jotiraditya Scindia about the need. The state government has been pushing for the reopening of HAL Airport, which was shut in 2008, for civilian traffic through BIAL for the last several years. 

The facility is now being used by military aircraft, VIP and chartered flights. As the HAL Airport is in the heart of the city, all sections of people and the business community have been demanding that domestic operations be resumed here. It is argued that since the Kempegowda International Airport is far from the city and passengers are facing inconvenience, reopening of HAL Airport would be a win-win for all.

However, an agreement between the Ministry of Civil Aviation and BIAL does not allow any operation of commercial flights within the 150 km radius of KIA for 25 years, which is till May 2033. 

Take up airport matter with Bommai, Joshi urges Nirani

HAL Airport can be made operational for domestic flights only if BIAL agrees to waive off the clause. Joshi said that though there are constraints, they can be addressed. He pointed out that since the state government is a prominent shareholder in BIAL, it has been asked to talk to the management.

Joshi suggested that Large and Medium Scale Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, who was at the meet, take it up further with Bommai, saying that he will put in an effort too. “Moreover, doing the business is not a business of the government,” he added.



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