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Tuesday, 10 January, 2012, 13 : 30 PM [IST]

Bangalore airport may shut down for 7 hours every day from Feb 24-April 19

Bengaluru airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), has circulated a ‘consultation paper’ which proposes to shut the airport for maintenance seven hours a day, every day from February 24 to April 19 this year. The shutdown is proposed to start at 9.45 A.M. and will last for seven hours. This means any flight scheduled between 10.30 A.M. and 5.30 P.M. will not be able to operate for almost eight weeks. An official source said, “Operations are proposed to be shut for 55 days for carrying out maintenance work.”

BIAL officials, however, claimed that no firm decision had been taken on the matter. “We will consult with all the stakeholders. Depending on what they say, a decision will be taken. It is a mere consultation paper right now,” an airport spokesperson said. But sources said a meeting is scheduled between the Airports Authority of India and BIAL on the issue today, according to a report by The Hindu Business Line.

Both the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and airlines are not happy with the proposed move. A DGCA official said that suspension of operations should be done in a staggered manner. It will help the airlines to manage their schedules in an effective manner. Airlines complain that such a move will affect not just the ongoing winter schedule but also the summer schedule and could have a cascading effect on flights through out their network.

A senior airline official felt that the airport operator should have informed about such a move well in advance. They were not told about the proposed shutdown even at a meeting between BIAL and airlines held on January 4, airlines said. Meanwhile, Bangalore, along with the Chennai, Kochi and Hyderabad airports, has already started suspending operations for three hours in the afternoon every Tuesday.
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