Court moved for flights from existing Bangalore airport

March 10th, 2008 - 11:52 pm ICT by admin  

Bangalore, March 10 (IANS) Demand to retain civil flight operations at Bangalore’s existing airport even after the new international airport begins commercial operations March 30 has now reached the Karnataka High Court. The court Monday admitted petitions against the closure of the existing airport and told the central and state governments to take note of the pleas.

Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice B.V. Nagaratna also ordered issue of notices to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and fixed the next hearing for March 25.

The new airport, built on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, will be operated by a consortium of Unique Zurich Airport, Siemens Projects Ventures, and Larson & Toubro (L&T). The state government and the AAI are the two other partners.

As per the concession agreement (CA), the existing Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport will have to shut down from midnight of March 29. Aircraft scheduled to take off after the midnight will have to land at the new airport on arrival after 9-10 p.m. March 29.

The new airport is over 35 km from the city centre and the demand to retain the existing HAL airport, about 10 km from the city centre, at least for short-haul flights has been growing as the date for commercial operations of the new airport nears.

AAI employees have also threatened to strike work from March 12 as their talks with the government against the closure of the existing Bangalore and Hyderabad airports have failed to resolve the issue. The new Hyderabad airport is to start operations from March 14.

The main contention of the petitioners is that closure of the existing airport would inconvenience “short-haul” passengers as they would have to travel 35 km to the new airport, located at Devanahalli in Bangalore rural district.

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