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​Bengaluru airport sees local IT industry as key to hub ambitions

Bengaluru's Kempegowda International airport has highlighted the role of the local IT industry in giving it "the right traffic potential and ideal geographical location" to become a major hub.

Chief executive Hari Marar says the airport "finds itself in a sweet spot as airlines are eager to expand their operations from Bengaluru because they can easily cover all key markets located within a four to six hour flying range". He notes: "Bengaluru – the Silicon Valley of India with the largest IT companies and a growing start-up ecosystem – has enormous business opportunities which requires Bengaluru to offer robust air connectivity to the world."

Coupled with the impending launch of a second runway and second terminal, by October 2019 and March 2021 respectively, various other infrastructure development projects will support the airport's push to be a global hub.

These include various road expansion projects within the periphery of the airport, the construction of a multimodal transport hub to serve as a transport interchange integrated with the terminals, and new parking bays.

Marar says the existing terminal at Bengaluru airport handled 32.3 million passengers per annum in 2018, and he expects the figure to surpass 33 million this year. The addition of T2 will add cater to a further 45 million, bringing its long-term capacity to 75-90 million.

When the second runway comes online, the two runway system will more than double the existing aircraft handling capacity to around 90 air traffic movements per hour, from the current 40.

Marar says he has seen Bengaluru airport evolve its strategy from initially being a gateway into South India, and then a gateway into India.

In the year ahead, the airport is looking to establish direct nonstop connectivity to Africa, Australia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and the USA.

Most recently, in January, Japan Airlines announced the launch of its Tokyo Narita-Bengaluru service, effective March 2020, which Marar describes as "a great addition to the overall network".

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