BENGALURU: Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is committed to re-open the HAL airport to provide short-haul flights. On Wednesday, HAL Chairman R K Tyagi said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had written to the Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju seeking his personal intervention in the matter.
The airport has been closed since 2008 after the Kempegowda International Airport became operational. According to an agreement between the Karnataka government and Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL), no other airport can be operational within a range of 150 km from BIAL. The HAL is also filing an appeal with the Competition Commission of India, Tyagi said adding that many cities in the world have more than one airport and Bengaluru too can have two airports.
Speaking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, Tyagi termed the closure of HAL airport as ‘fundamentally illogical’ and said the move had resulted in losses to the tune of `1,500 crore for the public sector understanding.
“Ministry of Defence has taken it up with the Civil Aviation Ministry. In the next one year, there is ample scope for reopening the airport for short-haul flights,” said Tyagi, whose term will end this month-end. At the time of its closure, HAL Airport was handling around 10.2 million passengers.
Tyagi also pointed out that the expansion plans at KIA would require huge investments which would be passed on to users through User Development Fees (UDF). “Apart from that, people are also spending a lot on transportation (airport is situated around 30 kms from the city),’’ he said.
HAL has recently acquired 610 acres of land near Tumakuru for setting up its Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) manufacturing facility. State government departments are currently preparing an estimation on civil works including construction of compound wall around the facility.