People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 28

July 20 , 2008



'Keep Bengaluru And Hyderabad Airports Functional'

THE CPI(M) has demanded the government to keep the existinig AAI airports in Bengaluru and Hyderabad functional.

Sitaram Yechury, MP, leader of CPI(M) group in Rajya Sabha and chairman, department-related parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture wrote to the prime minister on July 15, 2008 seeking his personal intervention to ensure this is done.  He quoted press reports appearing in Business Standard on July 12, 2008 that the government was contemplating to close down these airports.

Yechury said the parliamentary standing committee in its report reasoned in detail why both those airports should be kept functioning. Meanwhile a division bench of Karnataka High Court also directed civil aviation ministry, AAI and the Karnataka government to consider the negotiations with Bengaluru International Airport Ltd to keep the old HAL airport open and also to waive the User Development Fee for domestic travelers a the new BIAL airport.

Yechury stated that he was given to understand that the ministry of civil aviation had asked the BIAL to make arrangements to increase its capacity in the next eight months as there will be a delay in construction of the second terminal with in the next three years. “I don't think there will be a better option for the government and BIAL to augment the capacity except by restarting the functioning of the existing HAL airport. In order to ensure that the wide winged air crafts be accommodated properly at the Greenfield airports, the government can take a policy decision to allow the small aircrafts and ATRs to operate from the existing airports.

“As the standing committee report states, the BIAL reached its projected traffic for 2010 by 2007-2008 itself. As the airport is expecting a 25 per cent increase in the passenger flow in the current year, it is incumbent upon the government to see that this growth should not suffer due to government's inability to use the existing infrastructure facilities”, stated Yechury. He warned that any further mismanagement of this present situation will adversely affect the growth of the aviation sector.