BIAL’s railway station proposal in cold storage?

BANGALORE: To boost a quicker, cheaper suburban rail connectivity to the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), BIAL had offered to build a railway station inside its property at zero cost, five years ago. But this proposal to the state government has not moved forward an inch.

An existing railway line from Yeshwantpur and Yelahanka passes right under the trumpet flyover and close to the airport’s boundary. BIAL, as its Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Hari Marar informed, was ready to build the station, and operate a fleet of shuttle buses from there to the terminal buildings, barely five kms away.

BIAL, which is now pushing for a third access to the airport through an east-tunnel connectivity, sees the suburban rail link as a mass transit option.

“By 2029, KIA’s traffic will rise to 69 Million passengers per annum. The tunnel link too will take off 30% traffic away from Hebbal flyover,” said Marar.

Marar indicated that the HAL Airport could be opened for commercial flights if BIAL is allowed to run the operations there. BIAL, he said, is still in talks with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to find a way out.

However, HAL, the state-owned aviation major, is reportedly ready to allot only a small share of the flights, which BIAL finds unviable. The airport is currently used for fighter aircraft tests and VIP flights.