Bangalore Airport looks to woo domestic airlines to set up hub

The GVK Group-led Bangalore International Airport (BIAL) is talking to Indian carriers to create their secondary hub in Bangalore, in a bid to have a home base carrier after Kingfisher Airlines stopped operations last year. The airport, India's third busiest in terms of domestic traffic, expects to complete its terminal expansion this year, increasing its current capacity by over 60% to handle nearly 20

million passengers a year.

The Vijay Mallya-controlled Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) was one of the largest carriers operating out of BIA and the grounding of the airline in October 2012 impacted operations at the airport. But that has been compensated with the increased domestic movement by competitors such as Indigo Airlines, Jet Airways-Jet Lite and Spice Jet, said GV Sanjay Reddy, vice-chairman of GVK Power and Infrastructure. Reddy is also managing director of the Bangalore International Airport (BIAL), the company that runs the airport.

"For any airport to grow, it needs a hub-spoke model. However, after KFA's operations closure, other carriers have taken slots to deploy and fulfil capacity requirement of the market," Reddy told FE in an emailed response. "BIA would be keen to anchor a home base carrier and is in conversation with Indian carriers to create their secondary hub at the airport."

The airport, which aims to be a hub for south India, registered 7,741 domestic aircraft movements in April, growing 3.2% over the same period last year, according to data from the Airports Authority of India.

While Reddy expects the volatility in the Indian aviation industry to continue, he added that south India has seen significant growth in regional connectivity with domestic carriers expanding on new routes and frequencies.

"The future looks encouraging with domestic carriers looking to create secondary bases and international carriers acknowledging the potential of this region by adding more frequencies," said Reddy.

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