Bangalore, July 3 (IANS) The Karnataka government has opposed shifting the biennial mega air show Aero India hosted at the Indian Air Force (IAF) base on Bangalore's outskirts out of the state.
"It has come to our notice that there is a move to shift Aero India out of Bangalore. I am told this has come up because of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) taking up the issue of airspace management and the ministry of civil aviation has approached the ministry of defence (MoD) to consider moving the air show to a location where there is greater free air space," state Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda wrote to Defence Minister A.K. Antony in a letter recently.
The ninth edition of the mega event is scheduled to be held Feb 6-10, 2013.
Noting that the five-day air show was held eight times so far in early February every alternate year, Gowda said Bangalore became the obvious choice due to availability of good air environment and the city being the country's hub of the aerospace industry.
"It will be counter-productive to try and start afresh at a new location as the event had become a pre-eminent air show in South Asia with the support of the IAF," he asserted.
According to state government sources, attempts are being made to shift the event to Udaipur in Rajasthan.
Clarifying that it was not part of the decision-making team of the air show being conducted in Bangalore, BIAL said it would always support the event being held here as in the past.
"Aero India is recognised globally as a premier aerospace exhibition. We have in the past re-scheduled flights and maintained closure hours for both practice as well as main shows. With prior planning and collective decision-making, inconvenience to passengers and airlines have been addressed and minimised," a BIAL spokesperson told IANS.
To buttress his opposition to shift the venue, Gowda also recalled that closure of the airport runway for over six hours from 10.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during April for maintenance and repairs had no impact on flight schedules or passenger movement as the air space management was sorted out with advance planning and coordination.
"There is a fixed calendar to conduct airshows at the global level. Moving to a different location will necessitate change of time of the year due to weather and other constraints. It will be difficult to fit into the existing schedule of global air shows world over. Even with extensive air traffic, air shows are not moved out of Farnborough, Paris, Moscow, Dubai, Singapore and Zhuhai (China)," the chief minister pointed out.
Reiterating that the state government was committed to hold Aero India at the Yelahanka air base, Gowda said the privilege of hosting the prestigious event had to be retained, as Bangalore become one of the global destinations for such air shows.
"Moving the event out of Bangalore will be a retrograde step for the Indian aerospace industry. A lot of business also gets transacted with thelocal aerospace industry by global firms," he added.