Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BIAL - Thumbs down??

As Bangaloreans get their first taste of their new airport, most have been dazzled by the glitz and size; and comparisons are being made with the best airports in the world, something that any self respecting business traveller will scoff at.

And if anything, its just a matter of time before people start pulling the wool from their eyes - BIAL staff and Herr Brunner better have an escape plan then, and considering the way the 'completed' airport has been functioning, preferably something that doesn't involve them flying from their own airport.

The closure of HAL is a very very bad idea - the old airport was quite efficient, especially in its upgraded avatar. Entry was a problem, and there wasn't enough space, but it did have enough to easily handle 7 million passengers a year. Why then can the much bigger BIAL handle only 11 million? Where has our 3500 crores gone? Why has the, terminal whose size was only increased by 27%, claim to handle 300% more travellers? The Math on this seems wrong, doesn't it?

I give it a month or two before people start asking whats so great about the new airport. The Cargo terminal is nowhere near ready, ground handling is a mess, and the User Fee is astronomical. And if the problems aren't fixed within a month, there will be trouble in the air, and not just from Kannada activists, who justifiably have asked for the airport to be named after the founder of the city. It won't just be the IT guys, who were idiotic enough to support the great white elephant without reading the fine print (Educated people, Bah!!) and selfish enough to cheer on when their hero, the great Narayana Murthy helped negotiate the agreement that gave Brunner and Co. 150 km of free air, and 80 lakh Bangaloreans a whipping in the behind.

It will be every single traveller, who has to pay 700 for a Taxi, 1000 for the UDF and endure a horrendous airport experience in return. It will be common Bangaloreans, who will lose almost 10,000 crore Rs. because the Cargo terminal isn't ready and the government was a coward to protest. It will be the airlines staff, who don't have offices of their own or toilets or drinking water. And it will be the people who lost their lands and jobs to the new airport and were cheated out of employment because BIAL doesn't care about local sentiments. In short, everyone!

But right now, its still the honeymoon phase, where the passengers can walk through an airport that has no ugly ducts and a central A/C that actually works. Of course, there are a few voices of sense and foreboding in this madness - its a pity that no one in the positions to do something actually listens to them.

Devesh Agarwalji, the head of the Bangalore Chamber of Infrastructure and Commerce, and one of the strident voices of sense has a blog that demolishes any rosy reports in the paper - BIAL is no Changi, and it is far from complete, and nowhere near efficient or excellent. Check it out at http://aviation.deveshagarwal.com.

Lets hope the new BJP Government has some sense in its head, and makes the right decisions. Till then, keep your motorbike well oiled and fuelled, Mr. Brunner - you may need to make a quick dash to HAL airport to catch a chartered flight.


Anonymous said...

They might as well name it as Rajiv Gandhi.

Anonymous said...

So beautifully put.

By keeping HAL open, BIAL actually benefits themselves.

It will lessen the pressure and allow BIAL to catch up with the demand.

Let market forces rule. Government can give HAL 25% capacity of BIAL, and not impose any other restrictions (like only ATR aircraft, or only South India destinations). Automatically, airlines will move some of their flights to HAL, and free up valuable slots at BIAL allowing them to serve international flights which is more profitable for them.

It will also deflect criticism and show BIAL to be a good corporate citizen.

BIAL said...

Hi Joseph,

Thank you for your interest in Bengaluru International Airport. Your comments and feedback are appreciated, we understand from your blog that there are areas that need to be addressed and we will ensure that these will be actioned. If you have any queries on the airport do feel free to get in touch with us.


BIAL Communications team

Ashish Krishna said...

I think BIAL is doing a great job and just needs to fine tune their operations a bit .Most of the peeople opposing the new airport are vested intrests and are talking because its really not their money at stake.I wonder if it was their money if they would talk like this and why have they woken up in the past one year only while BIAL has been in the works since 2004.I think good infrastructure needs to be provided around the airport and thats the governments job which they have failed miserably at.BIAL needs to fine tune a few areas like capacity handling in peak hours but the bottom line one BIAL is enough for bangalore. I want BIAL to win all court cases and take damages from those industralists who have no public intrest in mind but their own pockets.

Ramalingam said...

BIAL is good not the best but definetely a good international airport,definetely better than HAL airport which was hell.
I think vested intrests like RK Mishra should be sued for wasting everybodys time and money to promote their intrests.
BIAL must fine tune their opearations just a little bit and be more responsive towards the public but they are doing a good job otherwise.The government needs to get their act together and provide better infrastructure leading upto the airport. I wonder why people like RK Mishra have woken up only in the past one year against BIAL and not made any noise about it since 2004 when the airport started.This clearly shows their intrest is not the public intrest but their own.

DIYA said...

I was just speaking to one of my friends who is a pilot and he says there is no ILS or instrument landing system at BIAL which makes it very difficult for pilots to land at night and when there is fog.The ILS was availible at HAL.
Whose fault is it.
where is the problem,i am sure AAI or airport authority of India is the culprit,or is it BIAL

I would like BIAL to clarify this point and ensure that the flying passengers safety is not compromised. Its not important whose fault it is,it just needs to be sorted out right away.

Shyamala said...

The supporters of HAL airport do not know what they speak of. Why were they sleeping these past 4 years since 2004 and have woken up only now.Please answer MRS kiran Shaw and mr RK Shaw.Why this sudden actvism in the past 1 year

Goodluck BIAL