July 9, 2024


Does the airport proposal for Hosur make sense?

India’s aviation sector is growing fast. So fast that the current infrastructure is struggling to keep up. India has about 150 civil airports. That’s twice from a decade ago. Indians, particularly the middle class, have burgeoning ambitions to travel. That’s why airlines in India have ordered hundreds of planes, and several more airports are in the pipeline.

One of those in the pipeline is for Hosur – the industrial town in the Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu, about 40 km from Bengaluru. This has been a long-standing demand of the area’s industrialists. With Chennai expected to get another greenfield airport at Parandur and worries from some Karnataka officials, does the Hosur airport make sense?


In the Krishnagiri district, Hosur is on the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border. It’s 3,000 feet above sea level. A report by Visual Capitalist in 2021 ranked it 13 in the world on the list of cities with the fastest population growth, with an annual rate of 5.3%.

In the 1970s, Hosur was nothing more than a one-minute bus stop from Bengaluru to Tamil Nadu and vice versa. Things began to change when the Tamil Nadu government chose it as an industrial site to boost growth in the district. Thanks to the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) complex, companies began to set up their manufacturing units, with the likes of Ashok Leyland, Titan, and TVS.

What followed was people armed with skills from Industrial Training Institutes and diplomas. The area began to change from agricultural to industrial. That change prompted employees in the region to buy houses in Hosur – a trend in the 1980s. Hosur was now a hub for companies from across the state and India, with businesses as varied as stationery, textiles, hardware, electronics, etc.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the second-busiest highway between Chennai and Bengaluru runs right through Hosur. However, the highway and improper planning have made Hosur a congested place. From roads to flyovers, the city’s planned growth hasn’t matched industrial development.

But that hasn’t stopped the flow of investments. Since 2017, Hosur has garnered investments worth over ₹21,000 crore. That means more people will travel to and from there. It’s one of the biggest reasons the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced plans for an airport here.

Amidst an aviation boom in the country, the need for new and better airports to cater to millions of additional passengers is evident. Some estimates said India aims to increase the number of airports to 350 by 2030. Does one at Hosur make sense?

VIEW: Makes sense and is necessary

Hosur is in desperate need of increased connectivity. Travelling by road can take a long time. An airport is the obvious and right call. Ultimately, it’s going to be useful for the people to trickle in and out. The many manufacturing units in Hosur mean clients from elsewhere come for visits. An airport would make it easier for them. It’ll also boost cargo movement to and from Hosur. Once the 280 km Bengaluru Satellite Town Ring Road is connected to Hosur, travel time to places like Malur, Tekal, and Electronics City will drastically reduce.

R Rajagopalan, President of the Hosur Industries Association, welcomed the decision. The demand for an airport has been long-standing. Many people from the area, like Electronics City, travel to the Bengaluru airport, which is over 60 km away and takes 2-3 hours. That commute becomes more challenging due to increased traffic congestion. If the plan to extend the Bengaluru metro to Hosur comes to fruition, it’ll make things easier.

Hosur’s development, while already massive over the years, seems like it’s only getting started. The Tamil Nadu government has plans to expand the SIPCOT industrial parks, an extensive underground drainage network, and shopping malls, to name a few. The airport is a win-win for both states, who will benefit economically from an increased industrial presence.

COUNTERVIEW: Too many hurdles

The reality of a win-win for both states might not come true. Chief among the concerns from some in Karnataka is that once the airport starts functioning, industries and MNCs might shift to Tamil Nadu, giving them a competitive edge in attracting more investments. Bengaluru, since it’s widely regarded as the IT capital, could begin losing its sheen. Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya stated that the state should focus on developing a second airport in the city, somewhere in Anekal or Bidadi, for example.

There’s another issue that needs to be addressed. Present guidelines from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) state that no greenfield airport would be allowed within an aerial distance of 150 km of an existing civilian airport. There’s also a political angle here. The DMK, part of the opposition INDIA bloc, will need to lobby the Centre to get the green light. That’s going to be difficult given its contentious relationship with the Centre.

Some ground realities still remain up in the air. For the Hosur airport to be viable, it must attract a significant portion of Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport’s (KIA) 30 million-plus passenger numbers. The break-even passenger load for a new airport is generally about 5 million passengers. Before the airport can be built, there must be significant investment in new roads, railways, and public transit systems.

Reference Links:

  • On Bengaluru’s doorstep: Hosur’s meteoric rise – Deccan Herald
  • Aviation Boom: CAPA India forecasts 35 per cent profit growth for domestic airports in FY25 – The Financial Express
  • How Bengaluru’s IT professionals could benefit from proposed Hosur airport – The Economic Times
  • Airport at Tamil Nadu’s Hosur to benefit Bengaluru’s tech hub Electronics City and nearby areas – Moneycontrol
  • Hosur Airport: A Blessing Or Curse For Bengaluru’s IT Sector? – OneIndia
  • Hosur airport plan raises questions over Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) Impact – Times of India
  • Bengaluru flutter over Tamil Nadu government’s plan to build international airport in Hosur – The Telegraph

What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)

a) The Hosur airport proposal makes sense.

b) The Hosur airport proposal doesn’t make sense.


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