How to get to Bangalore International Airport – VI

bial1State government got a real tight slap on its back on connectivity issues. Consequently, as Srivathsa pointed out, IT companies now want HAL airport to be kept open. Captain Gopinath has sung the same tune before (Sep’06 news).

Despite all our hopes, that cool train thing isn’t going to happen anytime soon. And the expressway will get done only by 2009. (Dec 2008 their date, add 6 months). So after the airport opens next year, once a few CEOs and opposition party leaders spend 2 hours getting to it, expect a lot of action. They may decide to keep HAL airport open, after which BIAL will come up with a contractual obligation state government has to shut old airport down (no airports within 150 Km) once new one opens. Courts, cases and more, and we shall all have fun!

Can you see a mess (predicted an year ago) coming?. There probably are three ways out of this:

  1. Delay opening of BIAL. I wont be surprised if recent design concerns raised by central government are aimed for that. BIAL could ask for some more time to redesign its structures. Say 6 months. And that gives a window for the expressway to be ready in time.
  2. Central government chips in with an ordinance type thing to keep HAL running till connectivity gets sorted out.
  3. Another good one will be central or state government announcing a new airport somewhere south of Bangalore (Ramanagaram, Bidadi area anyone?). Dreams like those could keep connectivity whiners quiet for sometime :)

But really, the whole thing so far sounds like gross negligence on state and BMRDA’s part? Why were they sleeping on train connectivity after such nice promises – remember Mr Albert Brunner’s talk about checking in at a city station and all? All that stuff must happen, and will one day, just that things are delayed right now.


20 Responses

  1. A compromise solution might emerge.

    a. Start international operations April 2008. Given that there would be 15 or maybe 20 flights a day, position it as a smoother transition.

    b. Once international operations have stabilized move domestic airlines in maybe Jan-2009 or so. show some progress on the expressway by then as a carrot.

  2. I think a new airport on Mysore road is a good idea. It could be for both Bangalore south and Mysore. Should fit in well with BMIC. Why did they not include an airport alos in that project?

  3. Here is what the CFO of a pretty big company had to say

    “We can link the new airport with the HAL airport either through Metro or a tunnel road, so that international travellers who want to board domestic flights can travel hassle-free.”

    Hmmm. We could call it a flight of fantasy. Does he even know what such things cost. I hope our blessed representatives don’t take these suggestions too seriously.

    Here is something I saw on the “tunnel road” in

    Apparently they are calling global tenders. i hope it is true. It just makes so much more sense for a company with deep pockets to sink in the money rather than the tax payer.

  4. Definite flights of fancy there. None of this would have been happening if they had worked on train connectivity.

    Wonder why IT folks didn’t lobby hard for Metro till Elec city. They settled for the elevated expressway instead.

    Same logic for new Airport. The push seems to be for the expressway, and not the train.

    I just feel that some key people in policy making positions hate the idea of public transport via Trains. Hope these guys are not involved with BMRC (Metro) in anyway.

  5. …more litigations…seems likely. We will have BMIC litigation in the South, BIAL in the North, maybe the Expressway towards East…let us wait for something in the West.

    The comments from these IT co fellows and others seem very kiddish. It looks like as though some people just wanted a new airport somehow. If they talk about link from HAL-BIAL, Elec City-HAL-BIAL, ITPL-BIAL, just imagine we would be living like rodents in burroughs surrounded by tunnels, underpasses, flyovers, et al. So pathetic when it comes to planning.

    ALL the projects should be stopped immediately, the various BOARDs should get back to the drawing board for sometime, come out with a comprehensive plan and start implementing. The days of BMP laying pavements and BWSSB cutting it to clean the drain and poor citizens waiting for BMP to relay the pavements should stop.

    But I liked the way HDK has responded on this issue ‘…if we can re-negotiate with BIAL…’

  6. Scepticism warns me and cynicism helps me. :)

    Another airport in South Bangalore sounds good more so because of the competition. A single airport so far away, with no competition, well the thought is scary!

  7. Read this today in the Times of India.

    We can argue about the merits of a 4000crore railway system to a 2000 crore airport but…

    what worries me most is the unquestioning attitude of the reporters. Seem to be just looking for sound bites. I have seen too many such reports usually going

    “Traffic jams will soon be a thing of the past if…”

    “Riding to Electronics city will soon be a breeze if the planners have their way…”

    “Power problems are set to go away…”

    And I thought the Times’ motto was – The leader guards the reader or some such thing.

    Navjot Sidhu comes to mind with his famous – If “ifs and buts were pots and pans…”

  8. thanks for the airport updates.

    mess is something that everybody appears to agree about the upcoming airport. what concerns me is if companies will start to move out of bangalore. don’t be surprised if companies move out to neighboring states like AP and TN. Mr. Karunanidhi lost no time in courting the Bangalore IT wallahs last year.

    wonder if anybody has any thoughts on that.


  9. I am so worried about that high speed train now. Why the hell do we need a new train network that is not integrated with Metro or Indian Rail. Why not just do a Metro extension from Majestic or Byappanhalli?

    Will they provide enough parking at this proposed high speed terminal? Most likely no, there is not space.

    It takes me 40 minutes to get to SFO airport from SF city. Takes 45 minutes to get to JFK from Central Park. Takes 45 minutes (by public transport) to get to Singapore airport from downtown Singapore. Could take 45 minutes or more from many parts of London to go to Heathrow (if going by tube). And yes, those cities have multiple airports too (except SIN).

    Why does everyone in our country want to get to every other place in 10 minutes? why?

    The point is about having *predictable* (from timing viewpoint) modes of transport. 45 minutes every day, anytime – that is super good and just fine and just how it is in most big cities of the world. And please, don’t build point to point connections (an expressway, a high speed rail) from separate points in city without thinking of public transport options from every corner of the city.

    HDK, planners – DO NOT get into knee jerk mode because of some short-sighted IT execs or newspaper journalists.
    Come to Praja, we will tell you what to do :) Do an airport south of Bangalore, if BIAL cries foul, give them some preference in bidding war for that airport. And please, extend Metro itself to BIAL, and think of frequent BIAL specials that will stop only at 2 or 3 stations on the way.

    Over and out.

  10. Two airports is not a feasible idea. And an airport is South Blr is a joke. First let us have adequate bus terminals in each region and then talk of airports. As it is, the international fligts in the dead of the night are a nusiance for people living in south blr, esp B’gudi, Jynr n Koramangala. With one more airport, blr can be called ‘the city that never sleeps’.

    Srivathsa – TOI can only do this job and is a bad representative.

    ‘knee jerk’…yeah that says all. And if some pea-brained fellows propose this to HDK NOW!…he might approve this before October when he steps down.

  11. I agree with Pranav. What is needed is predictable journey times. The same 4000 crores (assuming 70 crores per elevated section) can be used to add almost 60 km of Metro track. We could have a Metro loop from Whitefield/ITPL to Byappanahalli and on to the airport. And another section from EC to RV Road terminal via BTM. Both will add up to less than 60km.

    Pranav – instead of discussing this here, is there someway to petition the govt to consider 2-3 alternative options before When farmers are committing suicide (and almost always at the mercy of the monsoon rains), sinking 4000 crores into a potentially underutilized train rather than on irrigation and many other needs needs to be questioned hard.

    Seoul airport is 80km from Seoul. KLIA is about 60 km from KL. Unless we have an airport in the middle of the city someone is always going to have to travel more.

  12. I am trying to figure that myself Srivathsa. How do we get to participate in all this? There must be a town hall or something for these projects, isn’t it?

    Arun, a second airport south of Bangalore (Say Kanakapura, basically far) is better than retaining HAL. Once the airport opens, bus terminals and high speed train stations :), all of these will naturally follow.

    But yes, right now, figuring “predictable” connectivity will be cheaper and sufficient than thinking of second airports.

  13. An airport in the city centre is a good idea. But this comes with its own problems. Probably they could have given Devanahalli to HAL and taken this (dont know whether this could have worked). Upgrade HAL (certainly possible) with the additional spaces that would have come to them.

    If KLIA is about 60 kms, KLIA Express takes 28 mins to cover this from KL Central. Connectivity was never addressed and it still isn’t. The expressway is not a solution at all. Rail links from SBC, Byapanahalli, or few more should be laid, which would result in reduce the load on the expressway

    Well…who knows…so many satellite towns, townships, etc being planned, an airport may not be a distant dream…

  14. Does anyone know the history and work done behind choosing Devanahalli for BIAL? Not questioning. But I wasn’t into actively tracking these things then, so just curious now.

    Ideally, the airport should have been on BMIC, say somewhere near Kengeri, or Bidadi. could have then easily built an elevated Rail on top of the service road area or the median BMIC expressway has. There would have been no drama of acquiring separate land for airport expressway or high speed train. Could have made the best use of BMIC that way. And nearby satellite towns (Ramnagarm, Bidadi, Kengeri) would have gotten an automatic kick-start.


  15. that is a long story. long long story.
    basically the difference is that devanahalli land is mostly uncultivated. and SW land more productive.

    this retain HAL cry will be detrimental to BIAL in its formative periods. #1. if connectivity between local & int terminals is a serious problem then BIAL will not get NYC-BLR-TVM type of bussiness for example. so it will become a source/destination type of airport & not transit airport. not many carrier hubs. limited options. BIAL will not grow. ultimately prices for pass might rise. (like for example it is quite price to fly to JFK, atlanta very cheap)

    just like they did a hatchet job on hosur rd with elevated expressway, industry people are not city & infrastructure planners, they understand their current bottomline but not the impact on the city & its infrastructure.

  16. Hi,

    There is a railway link to Chikkaballapur which was constructed in a hurry to be done before International Airport. Now neither Railways nor Government of Karnataka is talking about this. Also they started widening of the road to Yelahanka telling the story of International Airport. Now comes one more metro and Expressway. Too many planners and too many ideas.

    Forget that Expressway and Metrolink and work on what is needed now and how it can be incorporated. Best thing now is to utilize Chikkaballapur Railway line, extend it to Devanahalli Airport. This will be helpful both for freight and passengers. Run Pushpull trains every 15 minutes during peak traffic and once in 30 minutes during non peak hours. Currently trains can come in two ways – 1 is via Byappanahalli and second is Yeshwantpur upto Yelahanka. Byappanahalli link is too busy. Yeswhwantpur could be best utilized for this. It is just a matter of putting a line of 4-5 kms. The road to Chikkaballapur needs to be widened which is currently done upto some area. We can have shuttle buses running from Majestic to Airport at regular intervals. More priority should be given on how to use the existing infrastructure rather than having a whole new ideas which are too costly like having a Bangalore south airport. People in the western part of Bangalore may then say we want Bangalore West Airport. This goes on!!!

    Instead of thinking on what is on hands, we are dreaming of something new and expecting our Government such as having a very new Bangalore south airport. In a poor country like ours where people still travel on top of Buses in majority places, we are thinking of a whole new Airport just to reduce the travel time.
    If the same Airport is constructed in some other city, it will help a lot of people of that city – or the same amount can be used to add so many buses where people travel sitting on top of buses.Media, especially TOI creates lot of hype on these impracticable ideas. This shouldn’t be encouraged.

    I live in Masachussets, USA. Even here, we have only 2 airports for the entire state. 1 in Boston and 2nd in Worcester. For going to Boston Airport, there is no such facility as we are talking in Bangalore. We have to call a limousine and travel. No public transport is there here. We adjust here. But, whenever it comes to our country, which is basically lifting up its economy, we create so hype that we want this infrastructure – this is there in Hongkong, that is there in Singapore — etc..

  17. With the new airport, only problem is the domestic airport. For Domestic operations, it would have been better if the existing HAL Airport would have continued. Because of the agreement, HAL cannot continue. But, in the interest of public, Government can do something. If this cannot happen,Domestic Airline main operators like Air Deccan who run short distance flights are main losers. They make statements to papers like TOI for one more new Airport. TOI makes a big hype of the same and it becomes a blog topic. Especially Chennai flight operations will be under severe loss because of the movement. A Shatabdi will reach Chennai in 4 1/2 hours – this is the hitch to airlines. Majority of people in our Country travel by trains, this airport is only the problem of a rich man or an official who is a frequent flyer – not a common man’s problem.

    It is better if we somehow the existing HAL airport for domestic operations – otherwise it is not a viable solution to open a new airport to favour these domestic airline operators. Worst case, let the airlines have an helipad and provide helicopter services to new airport from downtown Bangalore. Why Government should invest to make these airlines profitable?

  18. Vasanth,

    Can’t agree with you more. Let’s assume that there will be 10 million passengers every year using BIAL. That makes about 30000 passengers/day. Double that for accompanying family, etc. We are talking 60000 people/day both directions put together. Double that – still 1200000 potential users/day for the Airport Express. Can we justify 4000 crores for this? And not all of them will use a train even if it is there. This might make sense at a traffic volume of 50 million/year.

    On the other hand 3 million people use BMTC everyday. 4000 crores should benefit the maximum number of people. E.g can’t we link ECity and South Bangalore or Majestic using this money so that the roads get less crowded to start with.

    If nothing else, this train should connect RT Nagar, Hebbal, Yelahanka and then the airport. At least other people get to use it.

  19. So as expected, newspapers are on the case and the issue is getting hot now. ToI: chorus grows for keeping HAL open.

    None of this would have happened if they had talked about BIAL connectivity with same gusto same time last year. Keeping HAL open is a bad idea, unless they can do a new terminal on the other side (near the lake) so that they can make better access roads straight from ORR.

  20. This seems to be primarily led by the budget airlines more than anyone else. They are going to lose traffic to some destinations from April 08. That’s life. And this location was no secret for the past 10 years at least. What did they think – that this would drag on for 10 more years given the past record?

    I dont think a contract can be put to vote.

    Auto drivers are going to find life tough when (I am an optimist) the Metro starts. So are we going to not have the Metro?

    I would not be surprise though if they come out with some compromise that says aircraft less than 100 seats and flying less than 1 hr can use HAL Airport.

    Understandable that they dont want this, but this is not the way to go about things.

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