Regular flight operations at the Kempegowda International Airport will be disrupted from February 14 to February 24 due to Aero India 2019 - the international aerospace exposition – being held at the Yelahanka Air Force base. The flight operations at the airport will be affected on the days leading up to Aero India as well due to rehearsals that will begin a week earlier.
On February 20, aerial displays that are a part of the show's inauguration will be held in the morning. According to reports, flight services will likely be down from 8:50 am to 12 noon on that day. Further, the runway will be closed from 1.20 pm to 4.30 pm from February 14 to 17. On all days from February 18 to February 24, except February 20, the runway will be closed from 9.50 am to 12 noon and from 1.50 pm to 5 pm. On February 20, the runway won’t be functional from 8.50 am to noon and from 1.50 pm to 5pm.
“Bengaluru handles 754 air-traffic movements per day, comprising 663 domestic and 94 international services. KIA recently upped its hourly capacity to 40 from 38, with a maximum of 27 arrivals and departures per hour," read a note from BIAL.
The biennial expo has been held in Bengaluru ever since its inception in 1996. Earlier, reports had suggested that the show will be shifted from Bengaluru to Lucknow in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. However, political leaders across parties in Karnataka decried the move and wrote to the Centre requesting that the Aero India be held in Bengaluru as usual. The Ministry of Defence confirmed the same in September 2018.
Flight activity in the city will be suspended during the show due to the Bengaluru airport's proximity to the Yelahanka Air Force Base.
While this is likely to cause some inconvenience to flyers next month, January has also seen several disruptions in flight schedules in the city due to fog. For instance, on January 14, four flights had to be diverted to Hyderabad and Cochin from the airport. All four were Indigo flights arriving from Delhi, Jaipur, Singapore and Cochin.
Fog-related disruptions have occurred at the airport several times since the start of the month particularly in the morning. A visibility standby is given at the airport whenever the visibility reduces to below 2,500 metres.