Karnataka: Forging Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Posted By : Editor

Karnataka is a name for many firsts and is a state with many opportunities, achievements in many spheres. Amongst the many, the state is home to India’s Aerospace industry. Aerospace activities have commenced in the city of Bengaluru in 1940 with the establishment of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). In the next few decades, the subsequent establishment of defense public sector undertakings and R&D institutions positioned Karnataka as a prime location for the Aerospace industry in India. Our state has become a landmark destination by being Silicon Valley of India and housing top companies in IT/ITES and electronics hardware industries too.

The Government of Karnataka has the vision to make the state a vibrant aerospace hub and is committed to developing Karnataka as a globally recognized aerospace destination with a mission to achieve substantial progress in investments, to create proportionate employment opportunities, and enable sustainable ecosystems for the startups/businesses across all sectors.

In the context of the Aerospace industry, it is well-known that Karnataka has two International Airports, one at Bengaluru, Kempegowda International Airport, and another at Mangaluru, namely Mangalore International Airport. Kempegowda International Airport is the First Successful Greenfield Airport developed under PPP basis, currently the 3rd largest airport in terms of passenger traffic & one of the busiest airports in India with an ultimate capacity of 55 million passengers per annum.

There are several domestic airports at Mysuru, Hubballi, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, and Bidar cities. About 81 Routes have been Commissioned from/to 7 Airports by 5 Airline Operators – Indigo, Spice Jet, Alliance Air, TruJet, Star Air. International Operators include Air India, Air France, Lufthansa, Emirates, Qatar, Etihad, British Airways, Indigo, AirAsia, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia, Sri Lankan, Vistara, Spicejet, Ethiopian, and Malindo Air.

The Government of Karnataka under the department of Infrastructure, Ports, and Inland Water Transport Development has identified the Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd. (KSIIDC) as the Nodal Agency for the development of major infrastructural facilities in the State. KSIIDC was established in 1964 and has an unparalleled performance record of more than 50 years in the industrialization (Medium and Large-Scale Industries) of the State.

With a thrust for the speedy and balanced industrial development of all the regions of the State and emphasis on backward areas, the Infrastructure Development Department (IDD) is committed to achieving the goals of faster connectivity, ushering in balanced economic development, and transforming the landscape of Karnataka as a well-connected and futuristic state in the country. IDD has also expanded over the years and diversified into multi-modal transport infrastructure, development of large-infrastructure projects on a PPP basis, cross-sectoral convergences, and developing more sustainable business models for achieving comprehensive development in the State.

KSIIDC has selected strategic locations for the establishment of Airports / Airstrips and other allied infrastructure in line with the objectives of the Central Government’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik – Common Citizen of the country flies) and balanced regional development. It has garnered the support of developers, Air Service Providers (Chartered Flights, Non - Scheduled Operators, etc.), and tour operators to provide comprehensive aviation services.

Civil Aviation Development Opportunities in Karnataka:
Development of Green Field Airports on Item Rate Mode, Green Field Airports on PPP and Development of Helipads & Waterdromes; Enhancing Connectivity to Existing Airports, Connectivity to New Airports / Airstrips, (Domestic/International) and Heli-Services & Seaplanes under Air Service Provisions has been the priority of the Government of Karnataka.

Shivamogga, Hassan, Vijayapura, and Karwar (Defence- Civil Enclave) cities have been identified for the construction of airports and the construction is in an advanced stage. There are a few airports proposed and announced in the Budget 2022-23 by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Karnataka in Bellary, Raichur, Davangere, and Koppal districts. Proposed Airstrips at Chikkamagaluru Airstrip, Harihara Airstrip, Kushalnagar Airstrip, and Athani Airstrip are also identified for future development.

Heliports provide new possibilities for people to visit far away and inaccessible areas. They offer easier access to religious places and pilgrimage centers located in remote locations which are relatively untraveled but have the potential to become profitable tourist destinations. GoI has started a centralized Heli Sewa Portal which provides single window solutions to facilitate all permissions for Heli operations. GoK has chosen Madikeri, Chikkamangaluru, Hampi locations for developing Heliports.

Along with the above, a network of Water Aerodromes along with land-based airports are being considered for improving air connectivity. They will be particularly useful for localized short-distance traveling and also help to promote adventure tourism and water sports activities. Water Aerodromes are being developed at Tungabhadra Dam, KRS Dam, Linganamakki Reservoir, Alamatti Dam, and Hidkal Reservoir. There is also a new project being developed at Tadadi, Kumta Taluk, Uttar Kannada District over an area of around 1800 acres. This is located in the proximity of Gokarna, a pilgrimage center, and in Karwar district, which is a tourism hotspot. Good air and rail connectivity will boost tourism in the region and expand investment opportunities.

MRO Facilities at Hassan, UAV (Drone) - manufacturing and testing facility and Flying Training Institute in Kalaburagi under MRO Infrastructure & Others.

Start-ups in Aerospace Sector:
As 65% of aerospace-related investments in the country with 70% of the supplier base and 67% of all aircraft and helicopters manufacturing are originating from Karnataka, the state is a preferred investment destination for Aerospace & Defence companies. The sector has unlimited convergences of opportunities and activities. From start-ups in the aerospace sector exploring the opportunities in Flying Training, Hospitality and Tourism Institutions to Aero sports and Aero Modelling, to setting up Aviation Museums for Exhibits of Aircraft & Spacecraft, 3D-Interpretation Centre, Aeromodelling, etc., to encourage the local businesses of Tour Operators, Air Ambulance, Joy Rides and Heli Services, the aerospace sector is promising and the future is here.

Bengaluru Signature Business Park:
Bengaluru Signature Business Park is an iconic project which is being developed on prime land (407acres) adjacent to Kempegowda International Airport. With dedicated Rail and Metro services, State-of-the-art services, smart infrastructure, this project envisages Mixed-use development wherein Business, MICE (Meeting Incentives Conferences Exhibition) & Retail, Design & Culture, Innovation & Research District activities can coalesce seamlessly. This is targeted to emerge as a prime investment hub for Aviation and Aerospace Industries in the country.

With the accelerated pace of construction and development of the new airports across the length and breadth of the State, Karnataka is a destination for innovation, action, and sustainable development. In the light of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat and Make in India, indigenous - design, development and construction, operations, and manufacturing as well, will lead to innovation of unique and advanced systems, thereby, creating more sustainable technologies and practices.

There is a need to tap the cross-sectoral advantages of the aerospace industry, leaving no sector behind. From industry to tourism, skill development to hospitality services, from logistics to artificial intelligence, medical services, construction industry, and employment, the opportunities are many. It is time to proactively harness the same and forge partnerships for sustainable development.