Bengaluru Airport on Expansion Spree

 - June 12, 2019, 12:19 PM

Bengaluru International Airport (BIAL), India’s third largest airport after Delhi and Mumbai, has embarked on a $2 billion expansion program. The expansion includes a new 255,645-square-meter terminal (T2) scheduled to open in March 2021 and a 60-meter-wide, 4,000-meter-long second runway scheduled for operation by October. 

Forecasts call for BIAL to handle 65 million passengers by 2025. As the second-fastest growing airport in the world, it saw a throughput of 32 million passengers—up by 29 percent—and a 12.9 percent increase in cargo tonnage from April 2018 to the end of March this year. Air traffic movements increased by 21.8 percent, from 197,330 landings and takeoffs in 2017 to 240,251 last year.

“We are facing similar challenges of doubling of growth as many Asian airports,” explained the airport’s chief strategy and development officer, Satyaki Raghunath. “Volumes are driving us to improve operational efficiencies [and] customer service and do more with less using technology.”

The company will weave technology into every aspect of the terminal to ensure a simplified and seamless passenger experience from entry into the airport until boarding, he added. Soon, it will release a request for proposals for what developers call a “smart” terminal 2.

The airport has already installed many technology initiatives in the current terminal. Portugal-based Vision Box Biometric plans to implement face-recognition technology to identify passengers as they move across the airport, avoiding the repeated presentation of boarding passes or other physical identity documents.

Developers have also signed a five-year agreement with Unisys to create a so-called analytics center of excellence. “It will support a business intelligence and advanced data analytics platform for BIAL to consolidate and rationalize the airport's strategic, tactical, and operational reporting,” said Raghunath. The platform provides real-time content information relating to airport services and flight information.

Fairfax India Holdings wholly owned subsidiary FIH Mauritius Investments owns 54 percent of BIAL, while Siemens Project Ventures of Germany holds 20 percent, India’s Karnataka State Industrial & Infrastructure Development controls 13 percent, and Airports Authority of India carries another 13 percent stake.