New International Airports in Bengaluru and Hyderabad – Which One is Better?

10 08 2008

 

 

Last month, I had the opportunity to experience the new international airports in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

 

What follows is a quick comparison.

 

Both these airports commenced operations within a span of few months. Both these projects are based on the Public-Private-Partnership model. Interestingly, both the airports have been constructed at a cost of approximately Rs. 2500 crore (USD 600 million).

 

Both are larger and swankier than the old AAI airports they have replaced. Also, these airports are built on huge tracts of land away from the city. Devanahalli where the Bengaluru International Airport is located is 40 km from the city center. Hyderabad Airport (RGIA) is at Shamshabad , almost 25 km from the city center

 

BIAL looks much smaller than RGIA. You can’t fail to get impressed with the huge ceilings and the large expanse of space RGIA indulges you with.  BIAL with its lounges already full most of the time looks more like a cute glass box, in comparison.

 

If one does look at numbers closely, the difference leaps at your face.

 

Air- passenger traffic in Bengaluru is almost 50 % higher than Hyderabad. Hyderabad had air-passenger traffic of 7 million in 2007-08, whereas Bengaluru had nearly 12 million passengers. Both the new airports claim that they have a capacity of handling 12 million passengers annually.

 

Hyderabad airport has a terminal area of 107,000 square meter; BIAL is much smaller at 71,000 square meter.  Hyderabad can handle 3200 passengers per hour, whereas BIAL can handle only 2733 passengers per hour. 

 

Clearly, BIAL has been designed to barely meet its current full load while RGIA has been designed for the future.

 

The architecture of BIAL has been fashioned after the minimalist Zurich airport look. RGIA on the other hand, has been influenced by the Kuala Lumpur airport.

 

As a passenger, I would certainly rate the Hyderabad airport far superior to the Bengaluru airport

 

– G. Mohan.

 

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3 responses

12 08 2008
Venkat Subramaniam

If one has to catch a flight at 8 in the night from the new Bangalore airport, one needs to leave office at 3 in the afternoon, since the commuting time in the afternoon is more than 3 hours. The same applies to people arriving by the early morning flights. The so-called IT hubs in Bangalore viz., Hosur and Whitefield have literally become suburbs when we account for the travelling time from the present airport. Given the time loss in travelling, chopper services from the aiport to the city and back may become viable especially since a large number of foreign clients come to the city. Otherwise, this could become another major trigger point because of which Bangalore might lose its edge as the IT-hub. Other factors like over-congestion, and lack of infrastruture are already looming large over the city.

Indian planning to a large extent comes from ‘scarcity mentality’ where the predominant factor is cost, and the aspect of ‘value creation’ over a period of time is compeletely overlooked. Bangalore airport has also fallen prey to the same thinking.

12 08 2008
G.Mohan

You are right Venkat. Entrepreneurs are already sensing opportunity in providing helicopter services between the city and the airport at Bangalore. Economic Times on Jul 22 reports that

Global Vectra Helicorp Ltd (GVHL), a provider of offshore helicopter services to India’s oil and gas sector, intends to venture into helicopter shuttle services between airports and cities to ferry commuters wishing to avoid choked roads.

A source said that the company has plans to start the full-fledged services from the airports of Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore and Kolkata by the end of current fiscal. It will start the test ferry service from Kolkata airport in the next quarter. The fare is likely to vary from Rs 4,000-5,000 per trip according to the distance.

Last month, Deccan Aviation executive chairman G R Gopinath announced plans to launch helicopter shuttle services in Bangalore city to carry passengers to the new international airport.

I also learnt from some unconfirmed sources that Infosys proposes to have an office and Transit Quarters at a location close to the BIA airport for meetings to be held with business guests from India and overseas.

Let me also say that the 3 hour time to reach the airport from the city is more an exception than the rule. A friend in order to avoid missing the flight, left his home in Bannerghatta at 5.00 AM for an 8.00 AM flight. But he was at the airport before 6.00 AM.

26 10 2008
Jai Padmanabhan

I was in india in July and was very impressed by the new Bangalore Airport. I also travelled to Chennai on a Kingfisher domestic flight. Travelled back and forth to the International Airport 6 times and it took 50 minutes from Indranagar, near CMH. On the last day, hearing all of the negative news, left home at 3:00 AM for a 6 AM BA flight and reached the airport at 3:50 AM. Was through customs and at the gate at 4:15 AM. Had to wait till 5:30 AM for them to board the flight. I sat there cursing all those Bangaloreans who had written nonsense about the airport and its distance. 27 KM of 6 lane divided expressway and 1 KM of Karnataka Government’s incompetance.

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