So, the movers, shakers and hi-fliers are feeling grounded on hearing that the HAL airport is closing down.
Come the 22nd May,2008 the HAL airport will discontinue operations and the first flight will take off from the new international airport at 0005 hours on the 23rd May,2008.
(An artist impression of the new airport - click on image to enlarge)
Before feeling disappointed about the imminent closure of the HAL airport, just answer the following:
Q.How much time does it take to get from Nariman Point,Colaba,Cuffe Parade (all upmarket areas in Mumbai) to the airport?
A.You need to be prepared for a travel time of at least 90 minutes.
Q.How much time does it take to get from Anna Nagar (an upmarket area in Chennai) to the airport.
Q.How much time does it usually take to get to the airport in Delhi, from most important areas?
A.You may miss your flight if you don't have 90 minutes travel time available.
Q.How much time does it take to get from Yelhanka (in Bangalore) to get to the HAL (existing) airport?
A.Two Hours.Yes,people are already spending two hours to get to the airport.
Q.Any guesses how long it takes to get to the airport in Kolkata?
A.Not even a local will hazard a guess.
For years,Bangalore has lobbied with the Center to upgrade it to A-1 category.This would give Central Government employees higher HRA (House Rent Allowance) and CCA (City Compensatory Allowance) bringing them on par with their bretheren in Mumbai,Delhi,Hyderabad and Kolkata.It is unreasonable to assume that an A-1 category city can get away with airport travel time which is more associated with a B-2 city.
The city is bursting at the seams with people and automobiles.Not only is the existing airport grossly inadequate to handle the growing air traffic, even the roads leading to the airport are completely choked.Traffic from the airport approach road often spills out onto the main road.Parking space in the HAL airport is grossly inadequate.The new airport has not come a moment too soon.
a)Bangalore is an international city which needs an airport befitting its status.
b)No one complained about the new airport all these years when the airport was under discussion and construction.No one asked if the existing airport would close down once the new airport became operational.
c)It is unfair and unethical to request BIAL to allow the old airport to remain functional.Unfair and unethical because the these were the terms offered to BIAL for setting up the new airport.The rules of the game must not be changed once the game has begun,else no one will play ball with us in future.
The commute to the new airport may take a little while to get used to.Hopefully, the experience at the airport will make it worth the while.