Way back in April 2009, when the barely one-year old Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) was at the receiving end of barbs, aimed at it from all conceivable quarters, Hari K Marar, then Chief Operating Officer and now Managing Director and CEO, remained unfazed. The airport deserved expansion but it could not because of severe financial constraints. The airport was not only countering the downturn and a slowdown in domestic traffic but was hoping that their demand to levy User Development Fee (UDF), would bring in `1,000 crore a year (the government allowed BIAL to charge `260 per passenger from January 16, 2009 instead of the `675 it had demanded). Speaking to this correspondent, Marar had said, “Long-term thinking is very important…” A few minutes into the conversation, he outlined BIAL’s aim: “Our principal aim is to create an efficient airport: an airport that could cater to today’s needs and the needs for the next few years…So that, as the traffic grows and the need expands, we can scale our airport to meet those demands in a seamless manner,” said Marar.
Expansion, capacity utilisation and facilities are words that mean a lot to Hari Marar. Over the last ten years, BIAL has seen development that has enabled it to be among the best airports in the world in terms of facilities and passenger convenience. It has undertaken a massive programme to cater to the demands of a civil aviation market that has been growing at a blistering pace. The current capital development programme includes a new terminal, a second runway, expansion to the access roads and internal road infrastructure, utilities as well as