BENGALURU: The State Government must start planning for a second airport in Bengaluru to keep pace with the city’s development over the next few years, according to a report by Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC).
“Our analysis indicates that the location of the second airport would be ideal in the stretch between Bengaluru and Mysuru, based on the economic growth pattern, demographic splits and demand potential. This will ensure that the benefits of connectivity drive additional growth in Mysuru, Hassan, Kodagu and Harohalli.
With infrastructure being a key driver of industry and investment, a second airport will not only help to decongest the city, but will also help industry expand towards outlying areas thereby fostering balanced growth,” the report says.
The BCIC feels the case for a second airport for Bengaluru “seems to be compelling as most of the factors that will help make such a project profitable are favourable. And, given the ground-level challenges, it is imperative that a decision be taken quickly.” The report lists land acquisition and development, environmental issues, road and rail connectivity, competing destinations and local issues as the main challenges.
Devesh Agarwal, former president of BCIC and Joint Managing Director of Jesons Technologies Pvt Ltd, said they are not against the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), but are looking at a number of factors, including the projected growth in air traffic and the need to keep pace with development. “The second airport should be a standalone one and they (BIAL and the new airport) should compete with each other genuinely,” he said, adding that their report looked at the need and viability of a second airport for Bengaluru.
Large Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, who released the report on Friday, said the BCIC members had discussed with him about the report that they are working on. Shettar told The New Indian Express that he will look into it and discuss with Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
Asked about utilising the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) airport instead of a new airport, Agarwal said it lacks the capacity to handle the huge passenger traffic that is expected. He said it is important for the government to start planning for a second airport now as the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) will be saturated by 2020-31. Long-term planning will be critical, Agarwal said, and cited the example of Mumbai which lost its crown as the economic capital of India to Delhi as they did not plan well and the airport was not capable of keeping pace with the demand.