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GENERAL TOPICSPosted by C C ASHOKA Mon, February 12, 2018 11:05:01
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Ten years ago, when information technology stalwarts were protesting shifting of the entire airport from HAL to Devanahalli, few had imagined a stellar growth in passenger volumes in such a short span of time. The way traffic is growing has made airport and government authorities plan a third runway to handle a gargantuan traffic in the years to come.

The international airport, named after the architect of the city of Bengaluru Kempe Gowda, is serving about 25 million passengers a year and the numbers are expected to grow substantially in the coming year.

Growth means the need for new routes and addition of aircraft to the existing base. Domestic passenger traffic at the Bengaluru airport is seeing a surge which has vastly surpassed the international traffic, creating a huge opportunity to increase global connectivity.

"At Bangalore International Airport (BIAL), we are working towards achieving this growth vision through a multipronged approach. Introduction of digitally advanced, innovative services and products at the BLR Airport ensures that airline partners have the advantage of future forward technologies, creating a seamless operating environment," a BIAL spokesperson says.

High growth, however, requires physical infrastructure to manage the rising traffic. "Until the second terminal at the airport is operational, BIAL will introduce several new digital initiatives that will ease and transform the customer's airport experience. This, in addition to the existing digital innovation will help streamline and ease passenger movement at the terminal," the spokesperson adds.

Meanwhile, the export of fruits and flowers from the airport has been growing pretty impressively. The airport has recorded a growth of about 20% for the last two years. The airport exported 303 tonnes of roses in February last year, and 562,107 kgs of mangoes in April and May.

The airport, for instance, exports about one tonne of fresh pomegranates every day. Karnataka is the one of the major producers of pomegranates after Maharashtra, a fruit that finds heavy demand in the Middle East and European countries.

Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) vice-president (business development) Raj Andrade and Menzies Aviation Bobba (Bangalore) CEO K Venkat Reddy recently said mixed vegetables, fruits, cambodge extract are top perishables exported to Qatar, Singapore and UAE, among the others.

Besides Menzies Aviation, BIAL has also partnered with Air India SATS Airport Services to drive cargo sales. Bangalore airport has a 5,70,000 metric tonnes of cargo handling capacity, and has done 2,80,324 metric tonnes from January to October. With 290 daily scheduled flights and 10 freighters operating over 30 weekly scheduled movements, the cargo volumes are growing at over 8% per annum, Andrade said.

"2017 has been a phenomenal year for us. We surpassed forecasted numbers and continue on a positive growth trajectory... This is a reflection of the status of Bangalore as one of the fastest growing cities in India, and its growing economic might", said Hari Marar, MD , BIAL. The state government, meanwhile, has planned a modern business park and an international convention centre (ICC) at the 407-acre plot of land near the international airport in Bengaluru .

"What we plan to build near the airport is a signature business park," said RV Deshpande, minister for infrastructure development. "We will be inviting technical bids very soon, and if all goes well, we should be able to lay the foundation stone in February," he added. The business park will take about 360 acres of land, and the rest will go for the convention centre, the minister said.

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