Home Economy High court directs government to re-negotiate Bangalore airport deal

High court directs government to re-negotiate Bangalore airport deal


Bangalore : The Karnataka High Court Wednesday directed the central government and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to renegotiate the concession agreement (CA) with Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) consortium over the closure of the present airport in the city once a new international airport becomes functional.

“The government of India and AAI are directed to renegotiate the CA with BIAL to make sure that inconvenience to the travelling passengers is minimised if not completely removed,” Justice Joseph Cyriac said in an interim order issued in response to four public interest litigations (PILs) filed by noted citizens, including city advocate G.R. Mohan and entrepreneur R.K. Mishra, against the closure of the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) airport.

The CA, signed by the union ministry of civil aviation, AAI and BIAL in June 2004, stipulates that no other airport can be built within a radius of 150 km of the new international airport.

The division bench, comprising Justice Cyriac and Justice B.V. Nagaratna, however, declined to stay the closure of HAL airport or opening up of the Rs.25-billion Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), about 40 km from here, scheduled May 11.

“At this juncture, the court is not inclined to give an interim stay on the closure of HAL airport owing to the jurisdictional and technical nature of the matter,” the court said.

The PILs, which were admitted by the court March 10, were filed against the closure of the present airport, lack of proper connectivity to the new airport and levying of user development fee (UDF) by BIAL on departing passengers.

Built on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, the BIAL consortium comprises Unique Zurich Airport and Siemens Project Ventures, and Larsen and Toubro (L&T), with a combined equity stake of 74 percent, and two state promoters – Karnataka State Investment and Industrial Development Corporation (KSIISDC) and AAI – holding the remaining 26 percent stake.