New Bangalore airport is shoddy, says Yeddyurappa

September 9th, 2008 - 9:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 9 (IANS) The three-month old Bangalore International Airport, a Rs.25 billion greenfield project, was shoddy when compared to other international airports, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa said Tuesday.The airport, built and operated by a consortium of Unique Zurich Airport, Siemens Projects Ventures and Larsen and Toubro, started operations May 24, after several delays and criticism of the design and lack of facilities by the civil aviation ministry.

The state government and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) are minority stake-holders in Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), set up to construct and operate the airport.

It is located about 40 km away from the city centre and 70 km from the ‘electronic city’, where most of the IT firms are located. Road connectivity to it remains a problem.

The airport operations began amid protests and legal battle over closure of the earlier airport, HAL (HIndustan Aeronautics Ltd) airport, which is located within the city limits.

However, this is the first time the chief minister has attacked the airport.

Incidentally, Yeddyurappa was in the US last week to attend a meeting of Kannadigas in that country and has apparently found airport facilities there to be much better.

“It’s shoddy compared to other airports,” Yeddyurappa said at a function here to mark the completion of 100 days in office. He assumed office May 30. He is the first BJP chief minister in the south.

“I will not allow such things. We need an airport of international standards,” he said while presenting progress report on his 100-day rule.

Yeddyurappa did not say what his government intends to do to improve the airport.

However, several of his ministers have said earlier that the government will make efforts to reopen the HAL airport, which was closed to civilian operations from the day new airport began operating.

The concession agreement between BIAL and the central government does not allow any airport to operate civilian flights within the 150 km of the new airport.

There has been demand that the HAL airport be retained for short-distance flights to nearby places like Chennai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram.

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