Centre bound to close down Bangalore and Hyderabad airports: aviation ministry

Bangalore: The Centre is contractually bound to close existing airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad once new international airports in both these cities become operational later this month, said union civil aviation secretary, Ashok Chawla. His comments have come even as a parliamentary standing committee on transport and tourism recommended that the HAL airport at Bangalore and the Begumpet Hyderabad be kept open.

Chawla said that it was not possible for the government to retain both these airports as agreements with the promoters of the new airports granted them exclusive rights over the airspace of these cities.

A petition filed by a Bangalore-based advocate seeking continuation of the operation of HAL airport has been adjourned till March 10 by the High Court. A similar petition has been filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

"We will respond to the petitions as per the agreement and policy. We cannot retain both the existing airports," said Chawla, who is on a visit to Bangalore international airport to witness flight trials.

As for the recommendation of the parliamentary standing committee, Chawla said that the government would examine them and respond accordingly.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Kingfisher Airlines, Air Deccan and the Indian Air Force participated in trials at the new Bangalore airport at Devanahalli. While a Kingfisher Airlines flight from Mumbai tested the international arrival process a Deccan flight used the remote parking bay and tested the domestic arrival process.

Close to 400 people participated in the trial run.

An aircraft of Air India will be the first to fly out of the new airport on 30 March.