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KIA T2: Garden city’s pathway to greater heights

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Phase 1 of T2, covering 255,645 square meters, will cater to 25 million passengers per annum (MPPA), while the second phase, which is still in the planning stage, would be able to handle 20 MPPA

Phase 1 of T2, covering 255,645 square meters, will cater to 25 million passengers per annum (MPPA), while the second phase, which is still in the planning stage, would be able to handle 20 MPPA

The Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), operators of the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA), have for long envisaged the airport to be what is billed “Gateway for New India” and the inauguration of the first phase of the newly built terminal 2 (T2) on November 11 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a small step towards realising this.

The construction of T2 began in October 2018, with BIAL planning to build it in two phases. Phase 1, covering 255,645 square meters, will cater to 25 million passengers per annum (MPPA), while the second phase, which is still in the planning stage, would be able to handle 20 MPPA. Once both the phases are completed T2 can handle 70 MPPA.

An artist’s impression of KIA’s T2.

Hanging garden

According to BIAL, T2 will be built on four guiding principles, terminal in a garden, sustainability, technology and innovation, and art and culture of Karnataka. Terminal in a garden will pay tribute to the garden city and T2 will have lush greenery within and outside.

“The gardens will feature distinctive plants including native specimen trees,  flowering trees and shrubs. The installation of portals, water bodies, rocks, digital technology / lighting, signature plants at strategic locations will further enhance the overall experience. The big draw of terminal 2 will be its hanging garden,” BIAL had said while unveiling the project.

Apart from enhancing passenger experience at the airport with the implementation of Digi Yatra — the contactless, seamless processing of passengers based on the use of single token face biometrics for verification of passengers, T2 will also showcase the rich history and culture of the State.

“The cultural diversity and unique art forms of Karnataka and South India will be showcased through the gardens, the dynamic environment and art installations. Material such as bricks, granite and inlay work will be sourced locally from Karnataka,” BIAL had said.

T2 will also have a wide range of retail brands to give a wholesome retail experience to passengers. There will also be F&B outlets offering international, local and regional cuisines.

In total BIAL has invested ₹13,000 for a slew of infrastructure projects at the airport, which includes a new terminal, a second runway, expansion to the access roads and internal road projects, utilities and a new multi-modal transport hub.

Phase 1 of T2 was initially to be inaugurated by March 31, 2021. However due to the COVID-19 outbreak the completion of work was delayed.

The development work under way at KIA.

The development work under way at KIA.
| Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Need to look beyond

Aviation experts point out that while phase 1 of T2 will augment the capacity of the airport by 25 million MPPA, work on phase 2 should immediately start as air travel is inching towards per-COVID levels. 

Devesh Agarwal said that T2 is a welcome addition with the building using a lot of features towards sustainability. However, he said that the airport passenger handling capacity would be saturated soon.

“KIA has already crossed 35 million passengers and the existing terminal (T1) does not even have a capacity of 20 million. KIA has been operating double its capacity for some time, so the airport should not just have phase 1 but also phase 2 completed soon as it is closing in on the Mumbai airport. In fact, it will overtake Mumbai very soon to become the second busiest airport,” Agarwal said.

Currently, KIA is the third busiest airport after Delhi and Mumbai.

A couple of years ago the Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce which represents various segments of the industry like manufacturing, aerospace, aviation, IT, Biotech, Pharma, Engineering, Garments, Food Processing, Steel and Services had made a study about KIA’s challenges and proposed to the government on the need for a second airport as KIA will be fully constrained by 2030.

“Currently the city of 12 million plus is served by one airport namely BIAL. The idea of the current airport being expanded to facilitate growth does not hold. On a comprehensive capacity basis which incorporates airspace, airside, landside and terminal constraints, the airport will fully saturate between 2030-2032,” the study report stated.

The development work under way at KIA.

The development work under way at KIA.
| Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Need for second airport 

Agarwal said that there is a need for a second airport which should be located somewhere in a triangle between Hassan, Mysuru, and Bengaluru in the south west quadrant.

“There is no provision for T3 at the airport, terminal capacity is not the only challenge, there are others factors like airspace capacity and the runway capacity,” Agarwal said.

The BCIC study report suggested that the second airport should come up in between Mysuru and Bengaluru.

“To achieve the government’s goal of decongesting Bengaluru and developing industry in the Mysuru and Hassan areas, the airport should be ideally located somewhere around the towns of Ramanagaram and Channapatna,” the report stated.

Third terminal, third runway

There have been talks of a third Terminal at KIA. However, it is expected to take shape only in the next decade. Fairfax India which has 54 % stake in BIAL in its interim report for the six months ended June 30, 2022 said that “construction of terminal 3 has been delayed until BIAL’s fiscal year 2034.”

KIA is the only airport in south India to operate independent parallel runways, enabling aircraft to land or take off simultaneously on both the runways.

While one is a CAT I equipped runway the other is CAT IIIB runway which can facilitate aircraft landing with a Runway Visual Range as low as 50 meters and take-offs at 125 metres. 

A few years ago the Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) had written to the State government to grant land for developing a third runway at the airport as it will help handle contingencies and secure the airport’s future.



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