Karnataka: Air travel set to soar in the new year

With fear of the pandemic departing, air travel across the country is poised for a big leap. Karnataka is sitting pretty with ongoing infrastructure works in the aviation sector across districts.

Published: 05th December 2022 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th December 2022 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

Representational Image. (Express Ilustration)

Representational Image. (Express Ilustration)

Express News Service

With fear of the pandemic departing, air travel across the country is poised for a big leap. Karnataka is sitting pretty with ongoing infrastructure works in the aviation sector across districts. Brand new airports are set to become operational in Shivamogga as well as Vijayapura in early 2023, while Hassan is expected to have one by the year-end. This month, domestic operations are slated to start at the second terminal at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) which was formally opened in November, a heliport is getting ready in Kodagu, while two new flying training institutes to train pilots will be launched at Belagavi. 

Additional Chief Secretary, Commerce and Industries, Gaurav Gupta was upbeat about the aviation scene in the state. “Bengaluru, being the third largest domestic operator in the country, is an extremely important one. We have strong functional airports in Mangaluru, Mysuru, Hubballi, Belagavi and Kalaburagi,” he told TNIE. 

The offshoot of air connectivity in any city would be a boom in business opportunities, industrial growth, market for agricultural commodities and tourism,” he said. “Of course, it is very important the state does some handholding in the initial years before the airports take off properly,” the ACS added.
G Krishna Kumar, director, International Affairs Committee, Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), said that flying within the state from the functional or upcoming airports depends on the affordability factor. “One of my business partners had to pay around Rs 12,000 last week to travel from Bengaluru to Mangaluru, the fare between Bengaluru and Kalaburagi was nearly Rs 9,000, while fares to Hubballi too are high. With the popular Vande Bharat Express set to connect Bengaluru and Hubballi soon, why will the public opt for costly air travel?” he queried.

The state needs to impress upon the Centre, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Directorate General of Civil Aviation of the need to ensure a cap on air fares, he emphasised. “If that does not happen, then passenger load will suffer,” Kumar cautioned. 

The other big disadvantage of air travel is that passengers end up on the outskirts of the city, while trains bring them into the city. “Mysuru needs to be made an international airport to boost tourism here and in its surroundings. Many international travellers are forced to land in Bengaluru and then travel by road to Kodagu,” the director said.

Shivamogga: Ready for launch 
Shivamogga will make its debut on the aviation map when ongoing works of the Rs 384-crore airport are completed by December-end or the first week of January. Its 3.2-km long runway will be the second largest in the state after KIA. Prime Minister Modi is likely to launch it. 

It is set to boost industrial development not only in Shivamogga district but neighbouring Chikkamagaluru, Davanagere and Chitradurga, besides investment in iron and steel, paper mills, dairy units, soap and automobile-based units. Over 13,000 self-employed artisans in the handicrafts sector, too, stand to benefit.

Giving an update on its status, former chief minister B S Yediyurappa recently said that eight floors of the Air Traffic Control building, ten watch towers of electrical substations, approach road and the 13.5-km compound wall are complete. Apron construction work and the lotus-shaped terminal are nearing completion.

Hassan: Over 40% work complete 
Four decades after it was first proposed, Hassan airport continues to encounter new hurdles. The Rs 360-crore project, spread over 450 acres, is coming up near Bhuvanahalli, 6km from Hassan city. It is being developed on the line of airports in Bidar and Kalaburagi.

Shilendra K Beldale, chairman of Karnataka State Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (KSIIDC) said, “The ongoing Hassan airport project will be completed by 2023-end.” 
Its present status: Over 40 per cent of work is complete, with construction of the runway and platform under way.

Land compensation issues delayed it for decades. A fresh hurdle has just cropped up. A 220KV power line which crosses the airport is obstructing the runway and landing, and alternative land is being sought to shift it. The land owners have demanded better compensation for the alternative land needed to install fresh lines and tower construction.

Deputy Commissioner MS Archana said, “Installation of the power line will be settled by taking farmers into confidence.” 

Hassan MLA Preetam J Gowda said infrastructure will also be developed to boost agriculture produce, including its traditional crop potato. Industrialist Prakash Yaji said, “The image of Hassan will be transformed after the airport is completed.”

Kodagu: First heliport, then airport 
The priority to boost tourism is to develop a heliport at Kodagu. A mini airport project will be taken up later. Madikeri MLA Appachu Ranjan said, “A sum of Rs 10 crore has been sanctioned in the budget for a heliport at Kudige here. It will help promote tourism. Tender is yet to be finalised for the project.”
KSIIDC MD MR Ravi had earlier proposed operating a seaplane in the Harangi backwaters here.

In 2018, the state had proposed development of an airstrip in the district, and land was identified in Kudige limits, near Kushalnagar. Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials made several visits and 49 acres of land owned by the agriculture department were finalised for the project. It will be taken up after work on the heliport is completed.

DavanAgere: Land identified
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai recently announced setting up of an airport in Davangere. When ready, it will give a financial boost to Davangere, Chitradurga, Haveri, Vijayanagara and Koppal. Land has been identified near Anagodu village.

Investment advisor Rohit S Jain said, “Air transport provides significant economic and social benefits. Apart from connectivity from Davangere, it will facilitate tourism, trade and ensure jobs, thereby boosting the economy. With Bengaluru and Mysuru reaching saturation point, investors and industrialists will start looking towards Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities like Davangere and Chitradurga, and will get connected globally.”

Belagavi: Two flying schools give boost 
Established in 1942, Belagavi’s airport at Sambra connects the ten cities of Surat, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Indore, Tirupati, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. Airport director Rajesh Maurya said, “We are lucky to have two flying training organisations sanctioned. The Red Bird Flying Training Institute has been set up and training of pilots may commence this year-end. The second, by Samvardhane Technologies Private Limited, is in progress and is likely to become operational next fiscal.”

The airport has seen a dip in patronage of late. In May this year, it had 37,301 flyers and 546 air traffic movements (ATMs refer to arrival or departing aircraft). By October, it had dipped to 27,262 flyers and 522 ATMs. 

Explaining the reasons, Maurya said, “Spicejet stopped operations from Belagavi to Hyderabad as well as Mumbai in October. Alliance Air shifted its operations to Pune and Vidyanagar airport in Torenagallu, while TruJet has completely stopped operations. “Patronage will go up when new routes are added by the existing airlines operating from here,” he added.

Udupi: Residents keep up demand 
Residents of the temple town of Udupi have been demanding an airport for years, with the nearest being Mangaluru International Airport. In July this year, Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels’ Association president P C Rao had written a letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, appealing for an airport for Udupi under the Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik scheme at the earliest. Rao had stated that it would reduce travel time for Udupi residents to and from Bengaluru.

In 2017, a Mumbai firm had come forward to build an airport at a cost of Rs 500 crore. Its proposal stated that 250 acres of land in Ottinene of Byndoor taluk should be earmarked for the project. 
If the airport is built here, people from Udupi, Kundapur and Byndoor, apart from Bhatkal, Kumta and other areas will benefit.

Mangaluru: International connectivity
The only other international airport in the state averages 24 domestic and 8 international ATMs daily. Domestic sectors served are Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Hubballi, Chennai and Pune, and international flights are to Dubai, Kuwait, Muscat, Dammam, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Doha, said airport authorities.

Mangaluru International Airport recently opened up the arrival hall area on the lower ground floor so that arriving passengers can be handled there, and their waiting time reduced.  Departures will be handled at the ground floor to help seamless movement of those leaving.

(Inputs from Marx Tejaswi, Udaya Kumar BR, Prajna GR, G Subhash Chandra, Tushar A Majukar, Prakash Samaga & Divya Cutinho)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp