• Kempegowda International Airport shut during day, flyers brace for chaos

    With flight operations confined to before 10.30 am and after 5 pm, the Kempegowda International Airport has been a picture of chaos for travellers since February 8.

    While the airport runway is closed during the day, owing to Aero India -which officially opens today and ends on February 18 -the restricted timings for flight operations will continue till April 30 to allow for the remodelling of the airport’s runway .

    Compounding fliers’ agony is the restriction on private vehicles restriction on private vehicles -during the five-day air show -on using the Ballari Road which till now was the only route to the airport. The traffic police have come up with three alternative routes to the airport, all of which are unfamiliar to most commuters. They have also advised travellers to start early.

    The saving grace, however, is the initiative by the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation to introduce additional feeder bus services from different parts of the city to the airport. What’s more, BMTC buses will have access to the Ballari Road even during the air show and therefore will offer the fastest commute to the airport.

    KIAL’s press release said that the airport is upgrading its existing runway 0927 with two rapid exit taxiways. The runway can handle 34 air traffic movements (ATM) per hour.The upgrade is expected to increase the capacity to 44 ATMs per hour. A taxiway is a path for an aircraft that connects runways to the terminal.

    Amrita Mallya, who works in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City , saw her Sunday flight being pushed to Monday . “The airport was extremely crowded. Many people who missed their flights were arguing with the staff, asking them to let to them board,“ she said. Paediatrician Dr Bhaskar Shenoy barely managed to reach a conference in Switzerland after a delay at the Bengaluru airport nearly ended his trip.

    “We understand that there will be crowding in the morning and evening. So we have augmented taxi and other ancillary services,“ said KIAL’s official spokesperson. A press release from the airport clarified that reporting time will remain standard and not four hours before departure as rumoured.

    City-based budget carrier AirAsia, which operates 18 departures from the city, reduced it to 14 on account of the runway closure. “A few of our daily flights have been cancelled and rescheduled from February 8-18 on account of the Aero India,“ AirAsia India spokesperson said.

    BMTC is operating 277 Vayu Vajra buses between 12 midnight and 10 am. A skeletal service of 91 buses will operate between 10am to 5pm during the closure of the runway .Between 5 pm and midnight, as many as 226 buses will be in service to the airport. All these Vayu Vajru services will continue to ferry passengers from the 12 regular pickup points in the city.

    The Ballari Road stretch will be restricted for private vehicles due to the Aero India show at the Yelahanka Air Force base. The traffic police have identified three alternative routes for airport-bound commuters.

    Vehicles moving from Bengaluru West have to take Goraguntepalya, BEL Circle, Gangamma Circle, Unnikrishnan junction, Doddaballapur Road, Rajanakunte, Sir MVIT Cross and then towards the airport.

    Vehicles from Bengaluru East can take KR Puram, Hennur Cross, Bagalur, Mylanahalli and Begur to reach the airport. Rodney Hudson Jersey

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