PALINI R. SWAMY writes from Bangalore: The new Bangalore international airport has been receiving an obscene amount of attention from “visionaries” like Captain G.R. Gopinath, Ramesh Ramanathan and R.K. Misra, all of whom seem to be reacting at this late hour as if it was being built secretly for three years.
While they and other Rip Van Winkles in our midst (like Ramya Krishnamurthy) can keep debating if the old airport should be kept open, if the user development fee should be scrapped or reduced, if a city should have two airports, etc, here’s some fresh cud to chew: will the Devanahalli airport make the Mandakalli airport a bit of a no-go?
The airstrip in Mysore was built in 1948—take that, “visionaries”, 60 years ago! Its last burst of commercial activity was in the mid-1980s when Vayudoot ran a feeder service (the inaugural flight famously took to the skies without the man who inaugurated it, R.K. Narayan!). But it’s been in a state of disrepair since then.
Every so often, Mysore’s tourism potential (the palace attracted more foreign tourists last year than the Taj Mahal), its burgeoning status as an IT alternative, and a vast and growing diaspora have been bandied about as reasons why the city of pak, parks and palaces should not get its own full-fledged airport for commercial flights to take off and land.
The good news it is: The runway is being extended, a section of the Mysore-Nanjangud road is being readied to be realigned, and news reports indicate that the airport should be ready sooner rather than later.
The bad news is: is its immediate financial viability in the “foreseeable future” under a question mark because of the centre of air operations in Bangalore shifting to Devanahalli?
1) How many business travellers will go by air to Bangalore or vice-versa? A fast 30-minute air hop to and from Electronic City seemed an exciting prospect when the old airport was around. But to and from Devanahalli, which entails a minimum 30-minute check in, a 30-minute flight, a minimum 90-120 minute drive to and from the airport all adding upto a minimum three-hour ordeal? Will the time-strapped IT executives, whose perceived needs hastened the revival of Mysore airport, want to spend so much time when a road trip even on the existing highway could do the job for less? Even if and when the Bangalore-Mysore expressway becomes operational?
2) How many foreign tourists will want to come to Mysore or leave for Bangalore by air? Let’s face it. Mysore’s tourism potential is umbilically connected with that of Bangalore. Mysore is a stop after Bangalore, not on its own. At least not yet. Again, like in the case of the business travellers, we can wonder if backpackers are willing to make a journey towards Hyderabad on their way to Mysore, and pay a crazy user development fee on top of their ticket, especially with vastly improved and very convenient bus and train services? Especially with the palace on wheels, The Golden Chariot, on the anvil?
3) How many foreign travellers will want to use the air option? The likelihood of a direct foreign flight to and from Mysore is a good 5-10 years away, if not more. So, travellers to and from Mysore have to be content with stopovers and connecting flights. With the frequency of flights to and Mysore unlikely to be few and far between in the initial months, if not years, will it be attractive to foreign travellers? If a flight from Atlanta lands in Bangalore at 1 am, will a traveller want to wait till 7-10 am the next morning for a flight to Mysore, when he could easily have reached home by road?
Quite clearly, Mysoreans flying to Delhi and Bombay, or to London and New York, will find the connections offered by the new international airport convenient, especially because they will not have to make the long and tortuous road journey to Devanahalli. Nevertheless, is Mysore likely to provide the quantum of traffic that airlines will find attractive, for frequent flights, without expanding the transit time in Bangalore to ridiculous lengths?
From this distance, only three possibilities seem to hold out immediate hope for Mysore airport from day one. The first is, it could offer fast and easy connections to smaller cities within the State like Mangalore, Hubli-Dharwad and Belgaum, providing of course that airlines find it viable to link these cities. The second is, it could help companies and industries to use air cargo to transport expensive equipment and finished products. The third is, it could help the rich and well-heeled like Venu Srinivasan of TVS to land their private jets and play a round of golf.
An airport is a long-term project, but it is difficult not to wonder if the location of the Devanahalli airport has altered Mandakalli airport’s paradigm even before the tarmac can be tarred.
I remember the Mysore air port. That was my first live look at a plane on land. There was a old bomber in the fire office in Saraswatipuam. Went to the airport a few times on my bicycle, triples. Once the Great Vallbai Patel, our Home minister came to Mysore in a plane with two propellers, what plane I do not know. We had to wait for a few hours for him to come and we played cricket there! It landed there with lot of dust flying around. Later it was used for air dropping Hindu paper daily, it used to be lot of fun. I have not gone inside the compound after that. How does it look now? Can some body post a photo of it.
Visionaries or three musketeers ? Now Captain Gopianth says that the distance affects the credibility.No what about the passengers who are currently based in Yelhanka Peenya and other far flung areas.Are they not suffering now ? why all this hue and cry , just like the Mono rail vs metro rail controvesy.Vested interests.
Gopinath better mind his business.I felt his IPO was not worth Rs 10 , but he charged the PUBLIC some fancy price.He did ot care for the Investors.It was at best TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT Message.Same now with the new airport.it is also time that the Misra’s are shown their place .Some visibility by the media does not make him a EXPERT in each and every field
My 3 cents
We would have had well planned, new twin airports in Blr and Mysore long ago, had it not been the fight between the Gowda’s and the Cong-I/SM Krishna gang long ago. We ought to remember that N.R. Narayana Murthy was blamed as being oversensitive to quit as BIAL chief when H.D. Deve Gowda questioned his contributions.
Well, having read the deluge of negative reports on the Bengaluru International Airport in all the local newspapers, I decided to take a ride to experience the new high tech airport for myself.
After almost 150 minutes, we finally managed to overcome all those unmarked, ubiquitous road humps (why is India so obsessed with road humps?) until the Kodigehalli cross. The entire highway stretch is crowded in most junctions with tractors, bicyclists and pedestrians.
The airport itself resembles a new BMTC bus station. A single runway at the new airport was planned to service 10 million passengers per annum, a figure which is now said would be reached within the next 2 years. That figure was expected to go up to 11.3 million passengers per annum by 2015. So the new ‘high-tech’ airport will be running to full capacity the day it opens! Even if work on a second runway begins today, it cannot get operational for another three years: during which time another 10 million passengers can be added to Bangalore’s demand, with no airport or runway to service them!
Very soon, everyone will all have to pay “User development fees” for another Kalaysipalyam bus stand a.k.a ‘Bengaluru International Airport’ without a connecting road! BIAL wants to fleece Rs 675 from each embarking domestic passenger and Rs 955 from each international passenger. Even if 5 million passengers take off, the airport management will collect 700crore rupees from passengers alone. This excludes the income it makes from airliners for hiring out parking bays and other income from airport operations. The proposed Volvo buses from BMTC will be of no use on the bad road. People are being asked to pay 3 times more for an airport, that is 55km away and will cost another 3 times to just reach there from most populated parts of city. Incidentally, the new Hyderabad International Airport is not only better connected with more amenities and capacity but it has expressly decided not to charge any such “user development fees”!
First of all, it is a shame to every Kannadiga that the 3rd busiest airport in the country resembles a county or rural airport in any other respectable country in the world. The CEO of the airport project has been on record mentioning the pride of the new infrastructure: three imported firefighting engines called Panthers, as if that they are going to be the most frequently used tools.
With just 14 operational counters (30 were in he initial proposal) for departure and arrival, 10 conveyor belts and shockingly only 6 gates/aerobridges, the airport will soon resemble another Kailasipalyam Bus Station. There has been no foresight into key issues like approach roads, crowd control and baggage management, crisis management, runway construction (all new airports are upgrading to land the A 380), lack of proper visitor view areas, lack of speedy boarding and baggage clearances, obsolete security apparatus and many other obvious blunders.
Incidentally the nearest and best airport in the region, Viz., Changi in Singapore has 58 gates (of which 10 are A380 certified) capable of handing thousands of passengers simultaneously with three main runways and 4 huge airport terminals! The interiors are the greenest and most advanced among all airports in the world. In fact, they are now planning for 2020 and constructing a 4th terminal, each terminal being 20 times bigger than the new Bangalore Airport! Singapore has population of just 3 million but the airport has annual traffic of 22 million, speaks a lot of business opportunities in tourism or aviation missed in India.
After many corruption issues and the Gowda clan’s interferences until recently, we can now expect SM or DK’s men and their well known cartel to manage all the money making opportunities and machines, landing quotas, recruitment, contracts, excise, customs, stalls, taxis…et al.
BTW, on the way back,the Mallu Kaka running the food stall, just out side the airport premises, mentioned that he is planning to offer raagi mudde, kundha, jolada rotti and curd rice, since the only functioning food stall (SM Krishna’s Café Coffee Day) inside the airport (other tenders for stalls have been ‘fixed’ and will be up soon) has only fast food items priced three times more.
Question is: How many will experience all this and for how long, how many will travelling 2.5 hour from the city just to catch a 30-min flight to Chennai or Mangalore?
They should make a sub-airport in Majestic, Bangalore
iam residing at jalahalli and it takes me 1.5 hours to travel to HAL airport.I also have to check in One hour in advance.That makes it 2.5 hour travel where as the actual journey to Chennai is only 25 minutes.So will Gopinath / Misra please find a solution for my problem as iam poor and cant afford a PIL.
@ Praveen karanth : if the roads are bad BIAL is not to blame and anyone doing so must be sent to Kalasipalya Bus Stand.Connectivity is the responsibility of the state government.If Kumaraswamy and Krishna slept over the matter and were busy filling the bank accounts , and you did not bother to complain earlier , WHY bring this issue NOW.Stop being a hypocrite.
We have a airport and if the design does not appeal to your personal sensibilities , nothing much can be done.One cant please each and every human being while finalising the project.Since all of you are so agitated on this matter , may i ask , why these matters were never mentioned earlier in the media.WHY ARE THESE STORIES PLANTED NOW.Any clues ??
“The third is, it could help the rich and well-heeled like Venu Srinivasan of TVS to land their private jets and play a round of golf.”
What a cynical view. What exactly is the problem with this? Would you have a problem if he drove his swanky new Mercedes down the brand new expressway to play the same round of golf? That expressway is clearly many times more expensive than the airport.
We are still stuck to this mindset of air travel being a rich man’s indulgence. There is more to air travel than commercial flights. General aviation in most of the world is bigger than commercial aviation. General aviation includes not only those hated business jets, but also flight schools and flying clubs. These are the necessary feeder systems for any self-sustaining commercial network. I would love Mandakalli airport to become a training hub. I am a Private Pilot here in the US (where there is an airport in practically every town or county) and see many Indian students who spend their money here learning to fly so they can join one of the airlines. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they spent their money in our own backyard? The true impact of aviation is not when the common man/woman is able to take a commercial flight, but when the same person is able to pilot his/her own airplane to see our beautiful country from the air. Many single engine propeller airplanes cost less than cars.
Most commentators on the airport issues show a singular lack of common sense or the diligence to do some background work.
It is a pity and perhaps a reflection of our times that people who seem to admire the Kalaysipalyam inspired ‘Bengaluru International Airport’ while indirectly justifying the most unfair and pressing issues like obscenely priced ‘User development fees’, lack of jobs for locals (while the Bihari’s rule the Majestic Railway station, 80% of the airport customs staff are Mallu’s), have all obviously not even experienced the journey to or actually gone inside the new ‘high-tech’ airport in Devanahalli in Blr or airport in Mysore or the new terminal in Mumbai or for that matter The Changi Airport in Singapore.
A Captain Gopianth or a Mallya will obviously have their own interests in mind, but it is the public that needs to have a say. It does not mater if the issues are raised in the 11th hour or even after the airport is constructed. After all, when did the politicians or stake holders ever listen to the kannadiga or public sentiments or needs, in the very first place?
Well, I stay in Vijayanagaer and both the current and new airports are far off. People like Sainik or Gokulam..et all are either staunch supporters of the Gowda clan or Cong-I sympathizers or direct beneficiaries of the various deals around the Airport project or completely ignorant dodos.
While a PIL is the need of the hour, there is absolutely no justification to praise the crucial blunders that effect core infrastructure needs of the public for ever or support the crooked actions and decision of our politicians.
At least we can pray and hope that staunch opposition, criticisms, investigative journalism, stings and PIL litigations will ensure mistakes are not repeated for the proposed new airport in Mysore.
I have no idea what I said that made you accuse me of being a supporter of Gowda, the Cong-I or Vatal Chaluvali Paksha. Moreover, I really do wish I was some beneficiary of the airport project. Unfortunately I am not.
The original post is about the Mandakalli Airport. I had a response on that same airport. You had a big post on the new Bengaluru airport spouting your opinion on something totally irrelevant to the topic. So I guess that makes me a dodo. Thank you sir. Please let me know where you practice your profession so I can steer clear of it.
G3S (who also lived in Vijayanagara, Chandra Layout and sundry other places in namma Bengaluru facing the same hassles as anyone else)
Apologies for the term dodo. No harm meant.
You ought not to accuse others of lack of common sense or the diligence. Perhaps a visit to the new airport will make you realize where exactly is commonsense missing!
Well, the singular point is that we Kanandigas (pls note that there are many non-kannadigas posting their views in this forum) must stop criticizing each other and get united, constructive, either expressing displeasure or highlighting issues or using the right institutions like the courts for the cause of justice and fairness.
The Mandakalli Airport is far away, the key issue right now is the Blr airport. BTW, I assume you are a Kannadiga, If so kindly do not club the Vatal Chaluvali Paksha or the increasingly very popular Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (both factions) with the present day politicians.. While their way of expressing views and means of agitation are at times not appropriate, these organisations must never be compared to the crooks and daylight dacoits in the Cong-I or Janatha Dal..etc.
Doctorate who does not detect the disease in the initial stages but gives the verdict when the patient is on the death bed.That sums it all.
Ahh I knew I would detect a ‘Sherpur Wannabe’ and I was not disappointed! Doctrey, this is our first airport effort and please wait. Your local ‘Changi’ Airport dream will be realized. BTW you quote impressive statistics albeit in the wrong context! Take it easy will you? Thanks!
a. I am indeed a Kannadiga
b. I don’t think that is grounds for agreeing or disagreeing with anyone
c. We are not even talking about the same thing here to agree or disagree (and for what it is worth, I do agree with you about the hassle with the new airport, but let me also say that for the passenger the old one wasn’t all that great either)
d. Mandakalli is not very far away. It is in my hometown. I actually care more about that airport than Devanahalli
e. Coincidentally, the original post was about Mandakalli, so I will stick to commenting about it and not the one in Devanahalli!
Looks like we have many non-kannadiga suits nowadays in various forums disguising like Bangaloreans. There is a lot of finger-pointing going on and sadly the real issues seem to be getting lost in between. One must be able to look beyond a new Blr or Mysore airport. What is terribly regrettable is the views and warfare targeted on someone who has given a clear picture of the issues, with some statistics too. Whether you are nirudyogi or Doddi Buddi or anyone for that matter, it is not a good idea to condemn one among us who is highlighting the issues that will soon effect all of us!
Genuine Kannadiga Docter Avaranu Yaake Criticize Maadutiideera? Docter Avaraye, pls continue your inputs and discussion.
Who are these so called Kannadiga’s you are talking about. The original people from old Mysore state, or those imported to Mysore after the reorganization of states from Bombay presidency? You see our News readers, they speak Kannada in Marathi and Konkini! Kannadiga’s Ha Ha, where are they??!!
The consortium which built the airport did not chose the location or the size, it was the governments of the day that did that. Why were everyone silent then?
To maintain the sanctity of contract, HAL should be closed. People led by Ms. Majumdar et al want the HAL to be kept open but isn’t there a fit case for nationalisation of Biocon as it manufactures life saving drugs and medicines?
Why should a enterprise that has finished a project well within stipulated time be punished for these government failures?
People deserve the government they elect. Now the time to savor the consequences.
I work in Sydney and just bumped into this forum while seraching for news on the new Mysore Airport. To be frank, I think some of these folks giving such irresponsible and imature comments need to be blacklisted from this form that appears focussed on Karnataka and Kannadigas.
It is shocking how they critise some local docter who has expressed the genuine issues w.r.t to the new Blr airport, after going and seeing that place. It is also obvious that these Kanandaigas have no experience or global exposure.
I feel ashmaned that Kannadigas can be so silly, unwise and short sighted.
Some one in your forum must block their IP addresses.
Mr Satish G
welcome to something called internet forms and free speech. Let me assure that almost all the people who comment are NR Kannadigas like you and/or have immense global exposure. Instead of blocking someone’s IP, I suggest control yourself from posting less thought comments.
By the way, Sydney airport is a rip-off. $4 for trolley. One cannot pick up or drop off passengers, must park at $7 for 30 mins. $15 for a one way rail ticket…come on sheila, dont call us inexperienced.
mysuru airport jinxed, if it is true, its music to my ears.
after seeing the side–effects,after spills of BENGALURU AIRPORT, its better without an airport. whay mysuru needs is a double lane electric train , if that is cleared it would do wonders to the economy.
now , kannadiga owned taxis are banned from entering airport.
tmrw, kannada cannot be spoken in the airport.
few days later, kannadigas should not use the airport.
farmers who parted their lands for the project are yet to receive compensation.
using bad words-a? wait wait i will tell to HM.
teacher teacher look look, in this is phamily forum somebody is talking bad words like exposure. that too globally. he is also using bad words like humba, daDDa and kuruDa. he also calling every one peechu.
will you make him stand-up-on-the bench?
Some people need lessons on reading which they seem to have forgotten with all the global exposure they have! I suggest they READ what airport this whole thing is about – Mandakalli or Devanahalli?
And Dr.Ramesh, what makes you think Mysore doesn’t need an airport? Every big city needs one! Doubling of railway tracks like you suggest will eat up hundreds of times the land required, that too from poor farmers!
Logic like yours should be preserved in a special place. Don’t build an expressway because people lose land, but double railway tracks because we don’t need an airport (which uses far less land) because our people don’t get employment! Wah!
please ask 700 odd families of taxi-drivers who are loosing their livelihood because of unjust practises of BIAL, THEY WILL BE IN A BETTER POSITION TO EXPLAIN LOGIC.
I didnt know that kannadiga owned number plates, can you please explain?
Please continue to post. You just made my day:)
“Learn from the Masters”…
That was hilarious:)
Mysore is an important city and needs both an airport as well as a double line. They both serve different purposes. It is not an either or situation. Of course no injustice needs to be done to anyone.
Let us not get sidetracked by taking potshots at each other.
flying between mys-blr is a bad idea, even if there was one airport in the backyard of every CEO in bangalore. very very energy intensive with heavy environmental costs. why should the rest of us bear this cost, especially bcoz both cities are in the seeme and stradle mostly peri-urban areas?
there is a fledgling case to be made for connecting the parts of the state below and above the ghatta by flight. but for the short haul between cities within the seeme itself, where a well laid konkan railway grade double rail tracks and a nice little KA highway system should be enough address all sensible connectivity issues, flying is a very resource intensive solution – a type of solution that people below the ghattas describe as oodhoad koTTu baarsoad tagonDrante.
(you’ve got to read vasanth’s notes on this to understandard what KR-grade tracks are and how BLR-MYS double line is not KR grade)
mys is connected to blr at the sonTa bcoz of geography. and blr to mys bcoz of history. every single possible thing should be done to encourage blr’s dependence on mys. but mys should ultimately develop as its own city. it is already in most senses, but when it comes to connectivity, bcoz mys is in a corner, and is the last exit before gandhadagudi, it is dependent on bangalore for connectivity by road with the rest of the world.
it is here mandakalli airport can help mysore fly on its own bypassing bangalore.
an airport at mandakalli, big enough to handle A320 sized planes, opens up potential for direct mumbai, delhi, chennai, kolkatta, ahmedabad type of flights, especially during the season. then again, it could be an year round thing considering that there is absolutely no reason why hoards of honeymooners, revivers, and retirees would not want to let the kabini, southern madikeri, ooty, mudumalai rejuvenate their love lives. not to mention adventure seekers and folks who dig the s’pura, talkad, s’gola, b&h and the rest of it. mysore offers 720 degrees of possibilities and oppurtunities in 360 degreees of geography. any other city have that? we are god’s own neighbour and even he knows that the grass is greener on this side.
in my mind, mysore can be the epicenter that bootstraps all the neighbouring districts. chamarajanagara, kollegala, k’nagara morphing into base camps, connected to mysore by a well laid exactly 2×2 lane (not a lane more, not a lane less) road is a dream come true.
bottomline, bad idea to constrain mysore’s potential with blr’s constraints. devanahalli whereever it is, is god willed. We go on our own.
there are no tourist destinations within bangalore itself. everything that is godly is around mysore. the real question is not why they put the IA @ bangalore at devanahalli but why they are allowing two bit mall-dadas from blr in front of the palace and why they are allowing people to sell paints and bolts in ugly buildings in front of the palace instead of serving coffee and a crisp vada in a nice little see all glass enclosure to the strains of a piped sheshanna, and perhaps to readings of RKN by UoM grads on a stipend. i mean there are people who will eat their hands off for stuff like that. there are cities in the western world with half the verve and history that are making 4 times the money off their heritage. but we? we will sell paint, door fixtures and sewing machines in front of the palace and build hideous buildings in front of the greatest asset of KA.
nay, i exxagerate, all that we can yet solve, the greatest threat is why they are hell bent about putting a thermal plant right in the middle of all that is good and holy- that one thing will kill, nay murder, mysore?
wanted to post this. ended up posting on a whole lot of threads… anyways.
here is somebody who thinks bial @ devanahalli will boost MYS’s chances.
though i think it would be suicidal for mysore to even dream for this to happen.
So, this thread came up in a Google search result for Mysore airport. Today, 4.5 years after Devanahalli airport was inaugurated, it seems almost laughable to see the comments by Dr. Ramesh, Dr. Praveen Karanth, etc.
Tarlesubba makes some good points as usual, but the bottomline is: Mysore airport will not be viable unless Mysore “develops as its own city”, in TS’ words. TS suggests tourism to make that happen but IMHO, tourism alone is insufficient to make “Mysore develop as its own city”. Today, Mysore and the tourist spots accessible around Mysore (Ooty, Bandipur, BR Hills, Kabini, Madikeri, etc.) are frequented by people residing in Bangalore, for the major part. “Residing in Bangalore” is the key here. It is not going to be catapulted into the big league of tourist destinations just by opening a new airport. For one thing, our KA tourist department has neither the inclination nor the capability to make that happen, and even if they make an attempt, it has limited chances of success. The chances are dim that Mysore becomes a “tourist hub” with direct flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, etc. – rather, Mysore as a tourist destination with the current tourist traffic numbers does not justify direct A320 flights from the metro cities of India.
And of course, short-haul flights between Bangalore and Mysore are not viable at all. Yeah, hand-in-hand with tourism, if Mysore develops as a business city and becomes a smaller version of Bangalore – then there is a possibility of viability of direct A320 flights to Mysore from the Punes and Delhis and Mumbais. Ah, but the very tought will send shivers up the spine of most churumuri commentors. Mysore should be “left alone and preserved” after all…