1. Why was HAL Airport Shut in the First Place?
From 1980 to 2008, the HAL airport was operated by the Airports Authority of India (AAI). All the international and domestic air services in and out of Bengaluru were carried out from this airport, located less than 10km from the city centre.
But when the IT boom changed Bengaluru, passenger count at the HAL airport increased. The limited facilities at the airport were stretched to match the increasing demand, but they fell short.
Between 2006 and 2007, the HAL airport received 82 lakh passengers per annum, which was well beyond its capacity of 36 lakhs passengers.
As the airport was in the city, there was no room for expanding the airport terminal and tarmac, which could hold only 6 aircraft at a time.
After years of planning, in 2008, all the commercial airline operations in Bengaluru were shifted to the newly built Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli, spread over 4,000 acres.
Currently, KIA is the third busiest airport in the country, after Delhi and Mumbai’s airports. Over the past ten years, the air traffic in city has moved from 82 lakhs to 2.5 crores passengers per annum.