Tamil Nadu has offered to open up its Hosur Air Station at Belagondapalli village, Thally Road for Bengalureans. Once commercial airlines mount operations from this airfield under the Centre’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) scheme, people living in south-east Bengaluru (Electronics City and surrounding areas) will be able to reach Delhi or Mumbai sooner than reaching Kempegowda International Airport.
This coup d’etat of sorts by Tamil Nadu makes our politicians look real bad. Successive governments and civic agencies have been thinking up fantastical and futuristic solutions (underground tunnel to the airport; now-junked steel flyover; pod taxis as Metro feeders etc) instead of incremental changes that could tackle the terrible traffic problem (removing structural bottlenecks and not letting roads to be used as parking lots etc.).
The Hosur airport is around 35 km from Electronics City and takes around 30 minutes to reach compared to KIA which is around 80 km away and takes at least 2 hours on a good day during non-peak hours. Add to that over Rs 1,500 that taxis charge to get E-Citizens to the airport.
Balakrishna Reddy P, MLA from Hosur constituency and Minister of Animal Husbandry and Welfare in the Tamil Nadu government, told Bangalore Mirror: “Our former chief minister Late J Jayalalithaa had written to the Centre asking it to make use of the not-so-popular airports in the state and had also said that Bengaluru stands to gain the most with this move. Last week, the Centre approved (the use of Hosur airport) under the UDAN scheme and we also passed the agreement in the Cabinet. Hosur airport is now ready to take off.”
The Tamil Nadu government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) last week to start low-cost air services from Hosur airport. It said that TruJet, a Hyderabad-based airline, is expected to mount flights from the airport soon. Currently, TruJet connects Bengaluru with Hyderabad, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Vijaywada and Goa. TruJet did not respond to queries from Bangalore Mirror.
The airport at Hosur Road is maintained by Taneja Aerospace and Aviation Ltd (TAAL) and is a private airfield. This airport is capable of handling Airbus A320s and
Boeing 737s. Its hangars can accommodate only narrow body aircraft as of now.
The TAAL airfield is currently used for chartered flights. Bangalore Mirror saw aircraft of Drukair (from Bhutan), Maldivian Airlines and Boliviana de Aviacion (Bolivia’s national airline) parked at the airfield. Also, the Aeronautical Development Establishment (a key wing of DRDO) has tested its unmanned aerial vehicles from the airfield.
Elaborating on the airport, Reddy said: “We had restrictions before but we got the clearance. This is a great opportunity for the people of Bengaluru, particularly residents of Electronics City. We have many buses connecting (Bengaluru) to Chennai and Salem, but this (airport) will ease travel plans of people.”
He added, “This first phase of implementation of the Centre’s UDAN scheme will promote regional air connectivity. Not just that, more employment opportunities will lead to growth of trade and industry in the area and the overall socio-economic status of people will improve. This will also pave the way for more connections between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.”
As if in anticipation of the busloads of people expected to reach Thally, world-class roads have been laid around the airport. Also, roads from areas like Chandapura, Attibele etc which join Hosur Road are in really good nick and will provide fast and smooth connectivity to the TAAL airfield.