Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) is one year old today

On May 24, 2008 at 00.05 hours the first flight from Bangalore took off (Indian Airlines flight to Singapore) marking a major turning point in the history of Indian Aviation. Planned months after Bangalore International Airport was conceived, Hyderabad stole the show by inaugurating Hyderabad International Airport on March 23, 2008 two months earlier to BIAL.

What many may forget are the following facts

  • Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) is the first greenfield airport in the recent history
  • BIAL is the first private sector built and operated airport
  • BIAL planning started 17 years prior to launching
  • Even after the foundation stone laying by the then Prime Minister, it took three years before the construction could begin
  • Another former Prime Minister ensured that there are several obstacles to this project
  • Mr. N R Narayana Murthy was the first Chairman; he got disgusted by the uncharitable (and thoroughly unjustified comments) of the political bosses and resigned
  • The Airport connectivity was not planned by the State government and  there was so much confusion about two airports (HAL Airport and BIAL) operating; in the process, such a fine project was never inaugurated!
  • It is indeed a beautiful airport, though small by any international standard
  • The managers did a perfect “marketing fiasco” by making all the wrong noises; announced User Development Charges (UDF) but never collected UDF for months creating resentment on Day 1; started collecting it one day and did not integrate the collection into ticketing causing untold misery; it continues till today! The aero-bridges are just 7 in number; curiously BIAL never uses those! Hyderabad has double the number and in most of my flights, aerobridges were used. I have never seen more than 1 or 2 of the aerobridges put to use by BIAL most of the time in my 30+ flights in the past one year! God only knows why

Hope BIAL will celebrate its 10th year soon with at least 25 aero-bridges (and BIAL just not building, but using them also) and with 2 runways

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