BENGALURU: The Aero India 2019 may not be held in Bengaluru’s Yelahanka Air Force station after all. The Union government and the Ministry of Defence, according to sources, are in the process of shifting the 12th edition of the grand military and commercial air show to a new venue — Bakshi Ka Talab Air Force Station in Lucknow.
The military airport that is currently under the Central Air Command is likely to host India’s biggest biennial air show and aviation exhibition, sources told The New Indian Express. Bengaluru has been hosting the Aero India show since 1996. Talks of Aero India being shifted out of Bengaluru have been doing the rounds for years now. Goa was being considered as a potential venue for the event that sees participation from defence manufacturing firms from across the world as part of the expo apart from displaying the might of the Indian Air Force.
In a move that has come as a surprise to many within the air force, the defence ministry that was in the process of identifying new venues is said to have zeroed in on Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow. “It is an apology of an air field. To conduct something on the scale of Aero India is impossible at the suggested venue,” said a senior officer of the Indian Air Force.
Space constraint was pointed out to be the single most important reason to shift Aero India out of Bengaluru but the purportedly suggested new venue in Lucknow is a downgrade from Bengaluru’s Yelahanka Air Force station even in terms of real estate. Challenges that Bakshi Ka Talab pose for such an event became evident when an aero show of a much smaller scale was held in 2016 at the venue. With a mere crowd of 5,000 visitors, traffic, security and infrastructure were a challenge.
“Inadequate infrastructure, security concerns for air show routines and sorties, lack of preparedness at the venue, inadequate basic amenities were a concern in 2016 as well and that was a much smaller air show,” said an Air Force official adding that the venue may not be ideal, at least on the lines of aviation safety, for something as massive as the Aero India show.