BENGALURU- Hari Marar, the managing director and chief executive of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), stated at the FICCI Business Conclave that Bengaluru Airport (BLR) has the potential to become the hub for two major Indian airlines, IndiGo (6E) and Air India (AI).
He noted that for many years, India lacked an airline with the stature and the airline-airport partnership required to establish a hub, while neighboring countries like Singapore and Dubai have successfully developed their own hubs.
Bengaluru Airport Hub: Talks with Air India and IndiGo
This announcement aligns with the government’s plan to transform Indian airports into aviation hubs, unveiled by Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia earlier this year. Domestic airlines are being encouraged to participate in establishing an international civil aviation hub within the country.
In this context, Air India, now owned by Tata, is considering the development of a hub in South India, as indicated by its chief executive, Campbell Wilson.
With AirAsia, a part of Air India, previously having a substantial hub in Bengaluru, there is a strong possibility that the airport could become the second hub for the airline after expanding its operations in Mumbai.
South India Hub
In August, it was reported by DH that Indigo’s Head of Global Sales, Vinay Malhotra, mentioned an increase in the number of transit passengers choosing to travel via an Indian city to connect foreign destinations. This trend includes routes such as Dubai to Phuket, Bahrain to Phuket, and Tbilisi to Bangkok, where passengers transit through Indian cities.
In the context of aviation, a hub refers to an airport that serves as a transfer point for passengers en route to their final destinations.
Experts argue that Bengaluru has the potential to become a hub for both Indian and international airlines due to the significant business opportunities the city offers.
An additional advantage is the presence of a new runway and a strong emphasis on automation at the airport, which is an attractive feature for airlines.
The fact that several international airlines, including Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, and Cathay Pacific, are either starting operations in Bengaluru or increasing their capacity clearly indicates that the airport is poised to become a prominent hub in the years ahead.
As Alex McEwan, Virgin Atlantic’s Country Manager for South Asia, noted in a recent interview, Bengaluru enables the connection of passengers from across the southern region, underlining the city’s growing importance in aviation.
Third Largest Airport in India
Furthermore, during his address, Hari Marar, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), revealed that the renowned French luxury fashion brand Chanel has expressed interest in establishing a boutique store at BIAL.
BIAL is India’s third-largest airport, providing connectivity to 76 domestic and 25 international destinations through a network of 36 airlines and 13 freight carriers.
In the fiscal year 2023, the airport served 31.9 million passengers, approaching the pre-pandemic levels with a difference of just 1.4 million passengers. It is anticipated to serve 39-40 million passengers in the fiscal year 2024.
BIAL had a workforce of 25,000 employees across its campus before the creation of Terminal 2. It has expanded to 38,000 employees, and the airport aims to further increase its workforce to 50,000 within the next two years, as shared by Marar.
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