Aug 14, 2008

A Tale of Two New Airports

The two new airports at Bangalore (BIAL) and Hyderabad (GMR-RGIAL) were much needed: traffic at Bangalore will touch 10 million this Fiscal Year and Hyderabad is expected to touch 7.5 million. The airports have now settled into steady state and one can compare the 'character' they begun to acquire. I personally find that on almost every count Hyderabad scores over Bangalore; and I am not saying this just because I am from Hyderabad.
  1. Let us start with the time taken to commute to the airport. The commute from Electronics city to the Bangalore airport takes two to three hours. A similar journey from the Hyderabad IT district takes less than ninety minutes. Hyderabad is also building a huge 11 km expressway from Mehdipatnam to the highway from where the airport will be a smooth ride. Bangalore has no similar infrastructure in the works.
  2. The approach roads are both comparable and 'world-class' but the landscaping along the road at Hyderabad is arresting and done very nicely. Even the round abouts closer to the airport at Hyderabad give a touch of class and lend a character to the entire edifice. Bangalore has nothing of this.
  3. BIAL has both arrivals and departures at one single level which causes some confusion and clutter outside the airport. Hyderabad has two levels which streamlines inbound and outbound traffic and creates a lot 'space' and 'depth' to the structure.
  4. Check in at both places is smooth. However after clearing security at Bangalore you run into this strip mall kind of atmosphere which is highly cluttered with lots of shops jostled next to each other. People queuing at the gates run into each other, in fact anyone going anywhere runs into each other and doesn't know here he is going. The Hyderabad sitting areas is much more spread out and has a lot of greenery with indoor plants decorating the place.
  5. The colour schemes and layout of various buildings at Bangalore airport are not in sync with each other unlike Hyderabad.
  6. The aerobridges at Hyderabad are all transparent gives a pretty neat feeling whether you are looking from outside-in or inside-out. Bangalore aerobridges are opaque (perhaps to place more ads inside), adding to the already claustrophobic feel you get at the departure gates.
Hope these two airports continue to compete with each other as they evolve and grow. After all traffic is expected to eventually take off further, not withstanding the dampening effect of the recent oil crisis.

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