HAL Airport

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HAL Airport
Airport typeMilitary
LocationBangalore, Karnataka, India
Elevation AMSL2,912 ft / 888 m
Coordinates12°57′0″N 77°40′6″E / 12.95000°N 77.66833°E / 12.95000; 77.66833Coordinates: 12°57′0″N 77°40′6″E / 12.95000°N 77.66833°E / 12.95000; 77.66833
VOBG is located in Bengaluru
VOBG is located in Karnataka
VOBG is located in India
Direction Length Surface
ft m
09/27 10,850 3,307 Asphalt

HAL Airport (IATA: none, ICAO: VOBG), also known as Hindustan Airport, is an airport located in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Due to its location in the heart of the city, it used to serve as a hub for general, business and VIP aviation, as well as being used by the Indian Air Force as a cargo and logistics base, and as a testing facility by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It served as the city's main domestic and international airport until 24 May 2008, when it was replaced by the new, much larger Kempegowda International Airport in Devanahalli. There have since been repeated attempts to restart commercial service at the airport, but as of 2015 was being used only for non-scheduled, military cargo/logistics, VIP aircraft movements, and as a diversion alternative to Kempegowda International Airport in case of emergencies.


The passenger terminal viewed in 2006

During World War II, Indian magnate Walchand Hirachand sought to build and repair planes in India, which at the time did not have any aircraft industry of its own. He found a partner in American businessman William Pawley, and the two received authorization from the British War Cabinet to set up a factory. Meanwhile, the princely state of Mysore offered 200 acres in Bangalore for the construction of an airfield.[1] Hirachand, his colleagues, and the Mysore government jointly formed a company called Hindustan Aircraft Limited (the original name of present-day Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, or HAL) and in December 1940 laid the cornerstone of the facility, which began operations just one month later.[1][2] The colonial government joined the venture in 1941. As fears of Japanese ambitions rose following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the British Raj decided to requisition the airfield in April 1942. It then allowed the US Tenth Air Force to repair its aircraft in Bangalore, and the following year the Americans began running the factory.[1] With the US Air Force in charge, the facility focused on fixing and overhauling aircraft and engines, as well as producing drop tanks. Workers tended to a wide range of planes, including Catalinas and C-47 Dakotas.[1][3] Upon the war's conclusion, the Indian government reassumed control of the airport.[2]

On the civilian front, Bangalore had commercial air service as early as 1948. At that time, Air India was stopping in the city six times per week on its Madras-Trivandrum flight.[4] Four years later, Airways (India) and Deccan Airways were also flying to the airport, linking it to a handful of destinations in South India.[5] The national government then combined all domestic carriers into a single company called Indian Airlines, which was offering nonstop service from Bangalore to six cities by 1970.[6] Regional airline Vayudoot had joined Indian Airlines by the late 1980s, operating flights within Karnataka as well as to neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, Indian Airlines' network from Bangalore had expanded to 13 destinations, from Delhi in the north to Trivandrum in the south.[7]

During the 1990s, the number of passengers the airport was handling began to rise at a quick rate. While 1,000 travellers were passing through the terminal daily in 1991, more than six times that number were doing so by 1997.[8] Additionally, Air India delivered Bangalore its first international destination, Singapore, in January 1995.[9][10] The Airports Authority of India (AAI) started enhancing the airport's facilities toward the end of the decade, constructing an instrument landing system for the runway and another terminal.[11] The arrivals section of the two-storey building could serve 700 domestic and 300 international passengers at a time, while the departures area had a capacity for 300 international travellers. At the inauguration ceremony in January 1999, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee associated Bangalore's rising global stature and bustling economy with the need for the new terminal. At the same time, he observed that the city's accelerated pace of growth meant that the expansion would only help in the short-term, so government leaders needed to press forward with plans to build a new airport.[12]

The year 2000 saw the Bangalore airport land its first foreign carrier, Royal Nepal Airlines, which initiated a route to Kathmandu.[13][14] One year later, a Lufthansa Airbus A340 touched down from Frankfurt, Germany, signalling the first time the South Indian metropolis had a direct link to Europe.[15][16]

Civilian traffic continued to increase as the decade progressed. Air Deccan established its first base at the HAL airport upon starting operations in 2003.[17] Two years later, Bangalore ranked third on the list of the busiest airports in India with respect to domestic operations, and more international travellers were arriving as well.[14] Carriers like British Airways and Air France, which began service to the city in the same week, contributed to this growth.[18][19] Meanwhile, the signing of a concession agreement by the state and national governments and a private company called Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) enabled construction to start on another much larger airport, situated 30 km from the downtown area of the city in the suburb of Devanahalli.[20][21][22] The contract barred commercial flights from operating at the HAL airport for 25 years after the new airport opened, as BIAL and the Karnataka government believed that keeping both airports open would hamper the new facility's profitability.[23][24]

When comparing January 2006 to the same month one year prior, domestic and international passenger counts had gone up roughly 48% and 29%, respectively. Airport officials eventually had to request airlines not to introduce flights during the busiest hours.[25] In 2006, HAL complained that the airport's booming civilian operations were hindering the company's activities, which ranged from flying sorties to evaluating aircraft prototypes. At that time, passenger numbers exceeded by more than two-fold the terminals' capacity of 3.5 million travellers per year.[26]

The AAI responded to the problem with various infrastructure upgrades. For instance, it collaborated with HAL to construct additional parking stands.[26] By late 2006, the airports authority had finished enlarging the two terminals, thereby raising the annual passenger capacity by 800,000.[27][28] The statistics continued to climb in the meantime, with over 10.5 million people passing through the HAL airport in the 2007-2008 fiscal year.[29]

Transfer of civilian operations[edit]

The new airport, named Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB), opened on 24 May 2008. Per the Government's decision that no two commercial airports could exist within a 150 km (93 mi) radius, all passenger and revenue cargo flights were transferred from HAL Airport to KIAB.

Since then, there have been several attempts to reinstate commercial air service at HAL Airport. Shortly before BIAL's opening, 20,000 employees of the Airports Authority of India went on strike against the closure of HAL Airport and Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.[30] In January 2015, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar appealed to the Civil Aviation Minister to reopen HAL Airport, citing its loss of revenue and its convenient location within Bangalore.[31] However, the Indian Government has repeatedly denied these requests in accordance with its 150 km policy.

The airport however remains operational round the clock (H24 ATC watch hours) due to non-scheduled, military cargo/logistics, and VIP aircraft movements and as a diversion alternative to Kempegowda International Airport in case of emergencies.



HAL Airport has one main runway,

  • Runway 09/27: 3,307 by 60 metres (10,850 ft x 200 ft) CAT I, ILS equipped

This is the principal runway at the airport. It can cater to any type of aircraft including Code-F aircraft like the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747. There are 4 entry/exit taxiways, 2 on the east side named E2 (perimeter) and E1. Similarly there are 2 taxiways on the west side - W2 (perimeter) and W1. In addition, there are six aprons.

Closed structures[edit]

The passenger terminal is located on the north side of the airport. It contains two jetways and separate sections for domestic and international flights. Despite the rise in passenger traffic, there was no room to expand the terminal, and the apron in front of it could only park six aircraft.[32] This terminal has now been converted into an executive terminal with lounges and facilities for business and VIP aviation.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 14 February 1990, Indian Airlines Flight 605, an Airbus A320, crashed on final approach with 92 fatalities.[33]
  • 28 December 1996, a Blue Dart Aviation Boeing 737 made a heavy, off-center landing causing damage to the aircraft and runway.[34]
  • 12 February 2004, a helicopter being used by the HAL Rotary Wing Academy crashed, injuring both occupants.[35]
  • 26 October 2005, an Indian Air Force MiG-21 crashed killing the pilot.[36]
  • 11 March 2006, a Deccan ATR 72, with 40 passengers and 4 crew made a heavy landing. There were no major injuries but the aircraft was written off.[37][38]
  • 4 May 2006, a Transmile Air Services 727-2F2F suffered damage to the left wing fuel tank.[39]
  • 21 August 2006, a Kiran Mark II trainer aircraft crashed after the wheels failed.[40]
  • 6 June 2007, Sri Lankan Cargo Antonov An-12 lost engine power on runway.[41]
  • 6 March 2009, A NAL Saras aircraft prototype that had taken off from HAL Airport crashed in a field near Bidadi, killing the three man crew of test pilots.[42]
  • 1 February 2019, An Indian Air Force Mirage 2000 modified by HAL on an acceptance flight crashed 500 meters outside the airport perimeter wall after an unsuccessful touch and go on runway 09, both pilots ejected but landed on burning wreckage and died[43]

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ramnath, Aparajith (2020). "International Networks and Aircraft Manufacture in Colonial and Postcolonial India: States, Entrepreneurs and Educational Institutions, 1940-64" (PDF). History of Global Arms Transfer (9): 41–59. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2021.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Hindustan Aircraft, Ltd" (PDF). Flight: 296. 27 August 1954. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013.
  3. Kendall, N. W. (November 1955). "Civil aviation in India". World Trade Information Service Part 4: Utilities Abroad. 55 (21): 7.
  4. "Air-India Limited Time-Table and Fare Schedule in Force from 17th May 1948". Archived from the original on 22 January 2021. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  5. "Official Airline Guide". Air Transport Association of India. Vol. 2, no. 9. July 1952. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  6. "Summer Schedules and Tariff, Effective 15th June 1970". Indian Airlines. Archived from the original on 11 August 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  7. "Airlines and Aircraft Serving Bangalore Effective January 15, 1989". Official Airline Guide: Worldwide Edition. Archived from the original on 4 July 2021. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  8. David, Stephen (31 January 1997). "Wranglings between the Centre and Karnataka puts proposed Devanahalli airport in limbo". India Today. Archived from the original on 25 December 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  9. "History of Bengaluru Customs Zone". Bengaluru Customs Commissionerate. Archived from the original on 9 August 2018. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  10. "Bangalore-Singapore Flight Inaugurated". India News. Vol. 34, no. 1. Press Trust of India. 1–15 January 1995. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  11. Chandola, S. P. (2001). A Textbook of Transportation Engineering. S. Chand and Company Limited. p. 439. ISBN 978-81-219-2072-8.
  12. "Corporatization necessary to develop country's airports". Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee Selected Speeches. Vol. 1. Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. 1 January 1999. pp. 170–172.
  13. "RNAC to Bangalore". Nepali Times. No. 15. 3–9 November 2000. Retrieved 5 July 2021. {{cite news}}: |archive-date= requires |archive-url= (help)
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Preparing for take-off". The Hindu Business Line. 24 December 2005. Archived from the original on 4 January 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  15. "Lufthansa refuses to give A-I a lift". The Times of India. Times News Network. 3 September 2001. Archived from the original on 5 July 2021. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  16. "Lufthansa services from Bangalore". The Hindu. 3 September 2001. Archived from the original on 6 November 2004. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
  17. "Air Deccan to launch low-cost service on Monday". The Times of India. Times News Network. 24 August 2003. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  18. "Air France to fly daily from Indian IT hub Bangalore to Paris". CAPA - Centre for Aviation. XFNews. 18 December 2005. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  19. "British Airways flies London-Bangalore". Rediff. 31 October 2005. Archived from the original on 6 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  20. "Pact for Bangalore airport signed". The Economic Times. 5 July 2004. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  21. David, Stephen (29 July 2004). "On the runway: Bangalore International Airport to be India's first private sector-led project". India Today. Archived from the original on 30 July 2020. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  22. "Taking wing". Indian Express. 8 March 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  23. "It's get, set, fly for airport". The Times of India. Times News Network. 16 June 2004. Archived from the original on 7 July 2021. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  24. Swamy, Rohini (6 October 2020). "Bengaluru could get a second airport in no time. But after these hurdles are removed". The Print. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  25. "The more is not the merrier for airport". Deccan Herald. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  26. 26.0 26.1 "Military flights hit by commercial traffic at HAL airport". Oneindia. United News of India. 28 April 2006. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  27. "Airport terminal expansion may take some more time". Vijay Times News. 30 January 2006. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  28. "Lok Sabha Debates (English Version): Ninth Session (Fourteenth Lok Sabha)" (PDF). Lok Sabha. Vol. 23, no. 2. 23 November 2006. p. 296. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  29. "Bangalore airport to see huge passenger traffic". Business Standard. 6 March 2008. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  30. Slow take-off for airport stir Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Indo-Asian News Service via Gulf News. 13 March 2008. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  31. Ajmer, Singh (16 January 2015). Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar wants Bengaluru’s shut-down HAL airport reopened. The Economic Times. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  32. "Hard times ahead for city airport authorities". The Hindu. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  33. Flight 605 at the Aviation Safety Network
  34. Incident report at the Aviation Safety Network
  35. "Chopper crash-lands at HAL Airport". Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  36. "Pilot killed as MiG crashed in Bangalore". The Hindu. 27 October 2005. Archived from the original on 28 December 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  37. Incident report at the Aviation Safety Network
  38. "Air Deccan aircraft skids off runway". Archived from the original on 7 September 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
  39. Incident report at the Aviation Safety Network
  40. "Plane crash-lands at Bangalore Airport". Ibnlive.com. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  41. Karnataka. "Air traffic disrupted as cargo aircraft gets stuck on runway". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 17 September 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2018.
  42. Kaminski-Morrow, David (30 April 2010). Crashed Saras lost stability during re-light test. Flightglobal. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  43. Rao, Mohit M. (1 February 2019). "Two pilots killed as Mirage aircraft crashes during take-off at Bengaluru HAL airport". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 6 January 2020.

External links[edit]

Template:Hindustan Aeronautics Limited

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