ⓘ Kempegowda International Airport

Kempegowda International Airport

ⓘ Kempegowda International Airport

Kempegowda International Airport is an international airport serving Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Spread over 4.000 acres, it is located about 40 kilometres north of the city near the village of Devanahalli. It is owned and operated by Bengaluru International Airport Limited, a public–private consortium. The airport opened in May 2008 as an alternative to increased congestion at HAL Airport, the original primary commercial airport serving the city. It is named after Kempe Gowda I, the founder of Bangalore. Kempegowda International Airport became Karnatakas first fully solar powered airport developed by CleanMax Solar.

Kempegowda Airport is the third-busiest airport by passenger traffic in the country, behind the airports in Delhi and Mumbai, and is the 29th busiest airport in Asia. It handled around 33.30 million passengers in the calendar year 2018 with 658 aircraft movements a day. The cargo handled by the airport continues to increase steadily, with the airport handling about 386.849 tonnes 426.428 short tons of cargo between April 2018 and March 2019.

The airport consists of two runways and a passenger terminal, which handles both domestic and international operations. The second runway, constructed by Larsen & Toubro, was commissioned on 6 December 2019. A second terminal is in the early stages of construction. Also, there is a cargo village and three cargo terminals. The airport serves as a hub for AirAsia India, Alliance Air, and IndiGo and is a focus city for Air India and SpiceJet.


1.1. History Planning 1991–2004

The original airport serving Bangalore was HAL Airport, located 10 kilometres 6.2 mi from the city centre. However, as Bangalore grew into the Silicon Valley of India and passenger traffic to the city rose, the airport was unable to cope. There was no room for expansion and the airport apron could only park six aircraft. In March 1991, former chairman of the National Airports Authority of India NAAI S. Ramanathan convened a panel to select the site for a new airport. The panel decided on Devanahalli, a village about 40 kilometres 25 mi north of Bangalore. The State Government made a proposal to build the airport with private assistance, which the Union Government approved in 1994.

In December 1995, a consortium consisting of Tata Group, Raytheon and Singapore Changi Airport signed a memorandum of understanding with the State Government regarding participation in the project. In June 1998, however, the consortium announced it was pulling out of the project due to delays in government approval. These included disputes over the location of the airport and the fate of HAL Airport.

In May 1999, the Airports Authority of India AAI and the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation KSIIDC of the State Government signed a memorandum of understanding regarding the nature of the project. It would be a public–private partnership, with AAI and KSIIDC having a 26% share and private companies having the remaining 74%. In January 2001, the State Government created the company Bengaluru International Airport Limited BIAL as a special purpose entity and began searching for partners. By November, the project had attracted Unique Zurich Airport, Siemens Project Ventures and Larsen & Toubro. Construction was expected to begin in October 2002; however, governmental delays persisted. The concession agreement between the State Government, the Union Government and BIAL was signed in July 2004. In it, BIAL required the closure of HAL Airport.


1.2. History Construction and opening 2005–2008

Construction finally commenced on 2 July 2005. When a study predicted the airport would receive 6.7 million passengers in 2008, the airport was redesigned from its initial capacity of 4.5 million passengers to 11 million, with the terminal size expanded and the number of aircraft stands increased. The cost of the airport rose to ₹ 1.930 crore US$270 million. Construction was completed in 32 months, and BIAL set the launch date for 30 March 2008. However, due to delays in establishing air traffic control services at the airport, the launch date was pushed to 11 May and finally 24 May 2008.

As the opening date for the airport approached, public criticism arose, mainly directed toward the closure of HAL Airport. In March 2008, AAI employees conducted a massive strike against the closure of HAL Airport along with Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad, fearing they would lose their jobs. The Bangalore City Connect Foundation, a group of citizens and businessmen, staged a rally in mid-May, claiming the new airport was too small for the latest demand projections. On 23 May, a hearing was held at the Karnataka High Court over poor connectivity between the city and the airport. Ultimately, the State Government decided to go ahead with inaugurating the new airport and closing HAL Airport.

The first flight to the airport, Air India Flight 609 from Mumbai, was allowed to land the previous night as it would be continuing to Singapore shortly after midnight. The aircraft touched down at 10:40 pm on 23 May. The airport became the third greenfield airport under a public–private partnership to open in India, after Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Hyderabad and Cochin International Airport.


1.3. History Renaming and expansion 2009–Present

The original name of the airport was Bangalore International Airport. In February 2009, the State Government sent a proposal to the Union Government to rename the airport after the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda I. When no action was taken, the State Government passed a resolution for the name change in December 2011. The Union Government accepted the proposal in 2012 and formally approved it in July 2013. The airport was officially renamed Kempegowda International Airport on 14 December 2013 amid the inauguration of the expanded terminal building.

Kingfisher Airlines once operated a hub and was one of the largest airlines at Kempegowda Airport. Following its collapse in October 2012, other airlines stepped in to fill the gap in domestic connectivity by adding more flights. In addition, Air Pegasus and AirAsia India launched hub operations at the airport in 2014.

The first phase of expansion was launched in June 2011 and finished in December 2013. The ₹ 1.500 crore US$210 million project doubled the size of the passenger terminal to 150.556 square metres 1.620.570 sq ft, involving the construction of additional facilities for check-in, immigration, security and baggage reclaim. One domestic gate and three international gates were added as well. A large, sweeping roof connects the original building with the expanded areas. The expanded terminal, dubbed "Terminal 1A", has raised the annual passenger capacity of the airport to 25 million.


1.4. History Future plans

The second phase of expansion is underway, which encompasses the construction of a second runway and passenger terminal. When complete, Kempegowda Airport will be able to handle 55 million passengers per year. The estimated ₹ 4.000 crore US$560 million project received clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests in September 2014.

Ground work on the second runway began in February 2016 and the runway is expected to be operative by September 2019. Located south of the original terminal, it will be parallel to runway 09/27 and measure 4.000 by 60 metres 13.120 ft × 200 ft, wider than the original runway so it can accommodate larger aircraft. The new runway will also be CAT III certified, allowing for landings in fog and other low visibility conditions.

A second terminal will be constructed to cater to the airports growth. Terminal 2 has been designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. The contract to construct Terminal 2 has also been awarded to Larsen & Toubro which will be constructed in two phases. In the first phase, the terminal will cater to 25 million passengers annually. Terminal 2 is estimated to cost ₹ 3.036.90 crore US$430 million.

A third runway, north of the current runway is being planned to cater to the growth of air traffic in the airport which will be situated 1500 meters north of the current runway. Dubbed as the "New North Parallel Runway,", the officials hope to ease air traffic congestion with the third runway.

IndiGo announced in January 2019, its plan to build a second maintenance repair and overhaul facility at the airport, which is expected to be operational by March 2020.


2. Ownership

The airport is owned and operated by Bengaluru International Airport Limited BIAL, a public limited company. The Government of India has granted BIAL the right to operate the airport for 30 years, with the option to continue for another 30 years. The company is a public–private consortium venture. 26% is held by government entities Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation 13% and Airports Authority of India 13%, and 74% is held by private companies Fairfax Financial 54% and Siemens Project Ventures 20%.


3.1. Facilities Runways

Kempegowda International Airport has two runways in use.

  • Runway 09R/27L: 4.000 by 60 metres 13.120 ft × 200 ft, CAT III, ILS equipped.
  • Runway 09L/27R: 4.000 by 45 metres 13.123 ft × 148 ft, CAT I, ILS equipped.

Four years after it was laid, the runway was entirely resurfaced because of a serious decline in quality. From 11 March to 3 April 2012, it was closed daily between 10:30 am and 5:30 pm. As a result, BIAL accused construction company Larsen & Toubro of building the runway poorly. South of runway 09/27 are a full-length parallel taxiway and the apron, which extends from the Blue Dart/DHL terminal to the passenger terminal.

The second runway has completed construction at the airport, and was officially in use from 6 December 2019, when an Indigo airlines flight 6E 466 to Hyderabad took off from runway 09R. The new runway is however under limited operations until Mar 2020. The runway will cater to all types of aircraft including Code-F aircraft like Airbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 and will be equipped with CAT IIIB ILS. The runway will also feature an associated parallel taxiway and two cross-field taxiways on the east linking the new runway to the existing north runway and the aprons at Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The existing runway will also be upgraded as part of the expansion work.

It was announced in February 2020 that the old Runway 09L/27R will be closed for seven months 26 March 2020 To 4 November 2020 for installing CAT-IIIB ILS landing systems for guiding pilots to safely land at the airport in poor or low visibility conditions.


3.2. Facilities Terminals

Terminal 1 accommodates both domestic and international operations. It covers 150.556 m 2 1.620.570 sq ft and can handle 20 million passengers annually. Check-in and baggage reclaim are situated on the lower floor, while departure gates are located on Level-1 and the ground floor. Gates 1, 2, 12–18, 28–30 on Level-1 are used for domestic departures, gates 31–42 on Level-1 are used for International departures, gates 3–9 and gates 19–25 form the Western and Eastern bus gates respectively. Gate 41–42 is equipped to serve the worlds largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380. Lounges are provided by Above Ground Level and Plaza Premium Lounge, which also operates a day hotel in the terminal. For VIPs there is a separate 930-square-metre 10.000 sq ft lounge.


3.3. Facilities Expansion

Under the second phase of the airports expansion, a new terminal called Terminal 2 is being built. The new terminal has been designed by renowned architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and is being built by Larsen & Toubro. Phase 1 of the new terminal is expected to be ready by 2021 and will cater to an additional 20 million passengers.


3.4. Facilities Aviation fuel services

The airport has a fuel farm, spread over 11 acres 4.5 ha west of the cargo village and passenger terminal. It was built by IndianOil SkyTanking Ltd IOSL but is shared by multiple oil companies. In October 2008, Indian Oil commissioned a 36-kilometre 22 mi fuel pipeline between its storage terminal in Devanagonthi and Kempegowda Airport. Previously, jet fuel had to be transported to the airport by tank trucks, which created traffic and pollution problems.


3.5. Facilities Cargo facilities

Kempegowda Airport has three cargo terminals. One is operated by Menzies Aviation Bobba Pvt Ltd and has a capacity for 150.000 tonnes 170.000 short tons of cargo; it includes a facility for storing pharmaceuticals. Air India SATS AISATS operates one terminal, which can handle 200.000 tonnes 220.000 short tons of cargo. AISATS is also constructing the AISATS Coolport, which will be able to hold 40.000 tonnes 44.000 short tons of perishable goods. Lastly, DHL and Blue Dart Aviation jointly operate a 20.500-square-metre 221.000 sq ft terminal.

BIAL inaugurated a separate cargo village in December 2008. The village is spread over 11 acres 4.5 ha and includes office space, conference rooms, a cafeteria for staff and parking space for nearly 80 trucks. It did not open for occupation until 2010 and initially suffered low occupancy, which some cargo agents attributed to the opening delay, high rent and limited infrastructure.


4.1. Connectivity Road

Kempegowda Airport is connected to the city of Bangalore by National Highway 44 NH 44. In January 2014, a six-lane flyover was completed over NH 44 between Hebbal and the airport, helping to reduce travel time to and from the city. Two alternative routes are under construction and will be completed by March 2017, one through Thanisandra and the other through Hennur. The airport car park is located at ground level and can hold 2.000 vehicles. The airport is served by several taxi and rental car companies. In addition, ride-sharing companies Ola Cabs and Uber have their own pick-up zones outside the terminal.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation BMTC provides bus transportation to major parts of the city through the Vayu Vajra Kannada for "Diamond in the Air" service. It is operated using a fleet of Volvo B7RLE buses. In addition, the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation KSRTC operates a nonstop bus service called "Flybus" between Kempegowda Airport and Mysore, as well as a route to Manipal via Mangalore.


4.2. Connectivity Rail

A Namma Metro link between Bangalore city and the airport is planned with two stations at the airport. It will be an extension of the Gottigere-Nagawara line. A high-speed rail link was previously considered and went as far as obtaining approval from the Union Government. However, the project was eventually scrapped because of high costs and the lack of stops along the line.

Construction for a halt at the KIA boundary will be completed by February 2020. The train halt will be connected to the airport terminal via short five-minute shuttle busses. On day One of the service, four trains from the city towards Devanahalli will stop at the KIA halt and four trains heading back. Future plans include hyper electrification of the route to introduce comfortable MEMU trains to the airport. Besides, MEMU trains from Mysore that terminate at Yelahanka could be extended upto Devanahalli via the KIA halt station, benefitting airport-bound passengers from Mysore, Ramanagaram and Bidadi.

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