article

Bengaluru International Airport… Ushering in the winds of change!

Posted: 1 October 2010 | Marcel Hungerbuehler, President of BIAL | No comments yet

Two years into operation, the Bengaluru International Airport is already seeing close to 10 million passengers annually. Marcel Hungerbuehler, President of Bangalore International Airport Limited looks back at the year gone by…

At the Bengaluru International Airport, the watchword is change. The Airport constantly upgrades itself, always meeting and often exceeding world standards. The Bengaluru International Airport completed two years of successful operations on May 24, 2010. Achieving the dream of giving Bangalore an airport of world class standards which has proved its operational efficiency has not been easy. All this was made possible through the relentless commitment and enthusiasm of the thousands of people involved in making this project successful.

Two years into operation, the Bengaluru International Airport is already seeing close to 10 million passengers annually. Marcel Hungerbuehler, President of Bangalore International Airport Limited looks back at the year gone by… At the Bengaluru International Airport, the watchword is change. The Airport constantly upgrades itself, always meeting and often exceeding world standards. The Bengaluru International Airport completed two years of successful operations on May 24, 2010. Achieving the dream of giving Bangalore an airport of world class standards which has proved its operational efficiency has not been easy. All this was made possible through the relentless commitment and enthusiasm of the thousands of people involved in making this project successful.

Two years into operation, the Bengaluru International Airport is already seeing close to 10 million passengers annually. Marcel Hungerbuehler, President of Bangalore International Airport Limited looks back at the year gone by…

At the Bengaluru International Airport, the watchword is change. The Airport constantly upgrades itself, always meeting and often exceeding world standards. The Bengaluru International Airport completed two years of successful operations on May 24, 2010. Achieving the dream of giving Bangalore an airport of world class standards which has proved its operational efficiency has not been easy. All this was made possible through the relentless commitment and enthusiasm of the thousands of people involved in making this project successful.

Achieving new highs in passenger traffic and cargo

The advantage of a Greenfield airport such as ours is that you have a fresh start in all spheres – technology, infrastructure, people, as well as the airport management. While all of these have a positive impact, there is also a heavy demand of putting all the complex systems to work and maintaining a certain standard for the passengers as well as the airlines. Today, I take great pride in the fact that in this short span of two years, the Bengaluru International Airport reported an overall growth of 14% over 2008- 2009, ending March 2010 and respectively 23.5% by the end of July 2010 when compared to the same month the previous year.

Additionally, the month of May 2010 saw us create an all new record of handling the highest number of passengers on a single day, on May 21st, with a total of 37,015 passengers. We consider this is a huge feat given that the airport handled 26,000 pax per day as on May 24th 2008. Adding to this, on May 31st, the airport crossed the million mark by handling 1,043,412 passengers in one month for the first time.

Our cargo also showed an upswing in comparison to last year, with an increasing growth rate ranging from 1.8% in June 2009 to 33% in December 2009 compared to same month in the previous year. This positive growth resulted in a cumulative annual growth of 9.57% for the year compared to year 2008- 2009, deemed the highest cargo figures at the airport since its opening in May 2008. Additionally, the cargo tonnage grew at 26%, touching 194,780 metric tonnes in July 2010 as compared to the same month last year.

Adding to the increasing passenger traffic, what has been particularly encouraging for us, has been the fact that these two years have seen the introduction of several new international airlines. These include; Dragon Air, Tiger Airways, Air Arabia, Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Saudi Airlines and Air China. With these introductions, BIAL has now opened doors to newer routes, offering passengers a host of airlines and cabin classes to choose from to a particular destination. We have been able to attract over 10 new airlines, taking the total number of airlines to 32 and connecting the city and the state to 49 destinations directly. Of course, this does not include the numerous connecting flights that lead to innumerable other destinations, both internationally and within the country.

In addition to these new airlines, carriers such as Emirates increased the daily frequency to three daily flights. With the advent of new international and domestic flights and routes, the airport has marked the beginning of better connectivity between Bangalore and the world. Currently, the Bengaluru International Airport on an average has 153 take-offs and 153 landings on a single day. Very recently, Bengaluru International Airport has welcomed two new airlines providing daily operations – Silk Air from Singapore and Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur.

I am convinced that this airport is well on its way to becoming one of the leading airports in operational efficiency in the country. As a team, we have stayed true to our focus of providing world class service and are pleased that recent passenger opinion of our performance and service is very positive.

Creating Operational Excellence

Spearheading a new approach to the airport operations, BIAL pioneered the concept of the Airport Operations Control Center (AOCC) in India. Operational Airport Management, a concept that is new to Indian airports, ensures smooth and efficient airport operations. The AOCC is crucial in operational recovery in times of disruption and delays. It helps enhance predictability, resulting in better planning and a real-time overview of operations, in turn resulting in enhanced quality of decision-making – quick, accurate and taken by the correct partner. This improves processes leading to high punctuality of the flights.

Departure punctuality reached over 80% through most months, within 15 minutes of scheduled time. Baggage delivery remained constant over several months and stands at seven minutes of the first baggage being on the belt for both domestic and international arrivals. By international standards, this is a good record. Passengers were involved in these operational milestones through communication around the airport. Given below are some examples…

Year of celebrations!

In January 2010, Bengaluru International Airport received a platinum certification from IATA for becoming the first airport in India to be 100% Bar Coded Boarding Passes (BCBP) compliant. This is testimony to the fact that BIAL has and will continue to pioneer best practices in the industry. In early 2010, BIAL also received the ISO 14001:2004 certification, an official recognition of the airport management’s constant efforts towards a greener airport and city. In May 2010, BIAL received ISO 27001 certification for Information Security Management System Standards. The Bengaluru International Airport, in a short time span, has already become the pride and identity of Bangalore. It has overcome many challenges, earned numerous accolades and remained focused on its objectives.

In April 2010, Bengaluru International Airport was acknowledged with the title of the Best Emerging Airport – Indian Sub-continent, by Emerging Markets Airports Awards (EMAA) hosted by the acclaimed Airport Expo, Dubai. Bengaluru International Airport was declared the winner post the tabulation of the poll results from industry chiefs and leaders across the world airports.

Change in shareholding

Early this year, the BIAL board of directors was reconstituted with the induction of three new members. Mr. GV Krishna Reddy, Mrs. Indira K Reddy and Mr. GV Sanjay Reddy were appointed as the new board of directors, following the recent acquisition of a 29% stake in the company by GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd.

In the current shareholding pattern, private promoters hold a 74% stake in BIAL while the government holds the remaining 26%.

Private Promoters:

◆ Siemens Project Ventures, GmbH, Germany: 40%

◆ Mumbai Airport Developers Private Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of GVK Power & Infrastructure Limited), India: 29%

◆ Flughafen Zurich AG, Switzerland: 5%

State Promoters:

◆ Karnataka State Industrial Investment & Development Corporation Limited, India: 13%

◆ Airports Authority of India, India: 13%

Expansion plans announced

The Master Plan of this airport was developed to fulfill the need for an operationally efficient and passenger friendly airport for the city. It ensures that the size and capacity of the airport facilities can be gradually expanded based on the passenger and cargo growth.

Keeping pace with globalisation and the need to position this airport as a futuristic airport, our priority has been towards initiating work on the expansion of the existing Terminal 1 at the Bengaluru International Airport. This is scheduled to begin towards the end of this year and when completed, Terminal 1 will be expanded by 70% of the existing building. This addition will take the terminal capacity to 17 million passengers per annum, a requirement that will suffice until the year 2015.

BIAL’s Green Canvas and Community outreach

The Bengaluru International Airport Limited is committed to achieving excellence in environmental management through our green measures and EMS policy for ISO 14001: 2004. Our larger green initiatives include water conservation, energy conservation and efficiency, and optimal energy-usage.

Second year in the running, we recently concluded our green calendar event – Hasiru Habba, or Green Carnival, which was held with the support of local NGOs under the BIAL CSR umbrella, with an aim of spreading the importance of the four R’s – Reduce, Re-use, Recycle and Regrow, in a fun carnival atmosphere.

Additionally, Bengaluru International Airport has a strong community outreach focus and I am proud to say that one year into our CSR initiatives, we have been able to sustain engagement with over 18 NGOs and organisations in need within the airport vicinity. This year, the Bengaluru International Airport, along with the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) team, aims at reaching out to 15 schools within the vicinity of the airport in order to provide on-site training on fire prevention and safety.

A clear vision

The vision for the Bengaluru International Airport is clear, and that is to become the gateway to the South of India, enabling the economic prosperity of this region by facilitating the regions connectivity to the world. While this is being achieved, the focus of the airport is constantly on the operational excellence and that is reflected in the high Airport Service Quality scores within the first two years of operations.

Our aim is to continue developing and modernising the airport infrastructure to avoid capacity constraints, improve air space efficiency and minimise costs. As the air traveller becomes discerning, it is imperative to ensure that we do not create any inequities in his overall airport experience.

About the Author

Marcel Hungerbuehler

Marcel Hungerbuehler is the President of BIAL and took charge of the company as the CEO on February 1st, 2009. Prior to this, he was part of BIAL’s management team as the company’s COO for two years. He was instrumental in the start-up process and the operations of the Bengaluru International Airport.

Send this to a friend