July 2, 2005
Construction began on an airport to serve the city of Bengaluru (also called Bangalore), which is the capital of the state of Kamataka in southern India. The building of this facility was overseen by Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL), a public-private consortium that continues to be the airport’s owner and operator. The facility was originally named Bengaluru International Airport, and it was developed as an alternative to HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) Airport in the heart of Bengaluru.
As Bengaluru became firmly established as India’s version of Silicon Valley, air traffic to and from the city grew significantly. HAL Airport was increasingly unable to accommodate all of that traffic on its own. The additional challenge was that the location of HAL Airport in central Bengaluru ruled out any further expansion of that facility’s infrastructure. The new airport was built about 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Bengaluru to compensate for HAL Airport’s capacity limitations and provide another option for flights in that region of India.
Bengaluru International Airport was opened in May 2008. “I have been waiting for this moment for many years,” said BIAL’s chief executive officer Albert Bruner in comments that were reported at the time by Indo-Asian News Service. “This is the happiest moment in my life. All of us here are very much excited here. It is also a proud moment for all Bangaloreans.” The airport’s first commercial flight involved an Air India Airbus A320 plane that landed there for an hour and 38 minutes while traveling from Mumbai to Singapore.
The airport was officially renamed Kempegowda International Airport in 2013 in honor of a renowned 16th century chieftain. In 1537, Kempe Gowda founded the settlement that ultimately became present-day Bengaluru.
In terms of passenger traffic, Kempegowda International Airport is the third busiest airport in India and the 29th busiest in all of Asia. In 2018 alone, the airport handled approximately 33.2 million passengers.
Photo Credit: Pagelmp (licensed under Creative Commons)
For more information on Kempegowda International Airport (formerly known as Bengaluru International Airport), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kempegowda_International_Airport