Tata-owned Air India and Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) have entered into an agreement intended to develop Bengaluru as a premier aviation hub for southern India. The idea would be to boost air travel connectivity to and from India over the next few years.

Other Tata Group airlines – AIX and Vistara – and BIAL will collaborate to enhance international connectivity, operational efficiency, and passenger experience over the next five years, the airline said in a statement.

The Group will look at establishing a dedicated domestic lounge for premium and frequent travellers of Tata Group airlines Air India and Vistara.

As part of this initiative, Air India has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Karnataka government to establish Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities at the airport. The move is expected to stimulate the MRO ecosystem and is projected to generate over 1,200 new job opportunities for highly skilled individuals in the State.

According to Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India,Bengaluru is “highly attractive” as an origin and destination market as well as a connecting hub.

“We are strengthening our relationship with BIAL to develop a greater presence at the airport, expanding air connectivity and build a major MRO centre. This partnership agreement is significant in the ongoing transformation of Air India,” Wilson said.

Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru had a footfall of 37.2 million passengers in 2023 and is processing 422,644 tonnes cargo.

In a separate statement, Air India on Monday announced the appointment of Jayaraj Shanmugam as Head of Global Airport Operations.

Shanmugam will assume his role on April 15, 2024; and will report to Chief Operations Officer, Capt Klaus Goersch.

Shanmugam joins Air India from Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), where, as Chief Operating Officer, he worked on making operational the new Terminal 2 of the airport.