Expanded Bangalore airport named after city founder

Bangalore, Dec 13: Over five years after opening for operations, the Bangalore international airport is being named Saturday after the garden city’s founder Kempe Gowda, a chieftain under the Vijayanagara empire during the 16th century.

Coinciding with the naming ceremony, the airport’s expanded and upgraded terminal will be unveiled by union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh in presence of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and other dignitaries.

“Naming the country’s first greenfield airport after Kempe Gowda is a fitting tribute to the founder (Nadaprabhu) of Bangalore, which is known the word over as India’s IT capital and for its weather,” state Infrastructure Minister S.R. Patil told reporters here Friday.

Singh will unveil a plaque and announce that Bangalore airport will be known hereafter Kempe Gowda, who is credited to have planned and built the city in 1537.

Located 35 km away from the city centre near Devanahalli, the airport, built under public-private consortium, is spread across 4,000 acres of land, including 462 acres of commercial development.

The expanded terminal (T1A), spanning about 150,500 square feet doubles the capacity and has been built to meet the burgeoning passenger traffic at the airport, which is expected to touch 20 million over the next five years from the present 12 million, comprising 87 percent from domestic and 13 percent from international traffic.

“The new terminal has a host of facilities and services for domestic and international passengers, including 24 immigration and 24 emigration counters, 90 check-in counters and 30 common-use self service, 48 security pedestals, 15 aerobridges and 15 baggage reclaim belts,” said Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) managing director G.V. Sanjay Reddy.

Operated under a 30-year concession by the central government, with a 30-year renewal option, the consortium has five partners, with the country’s leading infrastructure major GVK holding 43 percent equity, Siemens of Germany 26 percent, Zurich Airport five percent and the central and state governments 13 percent each.

“Currently, we have about 310 aircraft movement per day, including landing and take-off, with 33 domestic and international airlines operating flights to 52 destinations across the country and overseas,” Reddy said.

The airport also handled in last fiscal (2012-13) cargo traffic quantified 226,667 metric tonnes per annum, including 82,756 tonnes for domestic and 143,911 tonnes for international customers.

IANS