Air India to develop Bengaluru Airport as a hub; establish its own lounge for domestic passengers

Hearing about a new Air India Lounge coming up was not on my bingo card today, but here we are. The airline has formally announced an agreement today to join hands with the Bengaluru International Airport to develop it as their south Indian hub.

Bengaluru International Airport and Air India join hands.

Air India and Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) have agreed to develop Bengaluru as an aviation hub for southern India. The airline aims to boost air travel connectivity to and from India over the next few years. Air India (along with 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.

a group of men standing in front of a sign

Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India and Hari Marar, Managing Director and CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited, with senior BIAL and Air India officials at the Bangalore International Airport. (Image Credit: Air India)

As part of this initiative, Air India has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Karnataka to establish comprehensive Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facilities at BLR airport. This partnership will stimulate the MRO ecosystem and is projected to generate over 1,200 new job opportunities for highly skilled individuals in the state.

Air India will establish a lounge at Bengaluru Airport.

As part of the initiative to use Bengaluru as the hub for Air India, Air India is also going to establish a domestic lounge for the premium and frequent travellers of Air India and Vistara at Terminal 2, Bengaluru Airport. Since Vistara is included in this announcement, it seems this lounge will be a reserved part of the existing 080 lounges rather than a separate lounge. After expansion, there is a lot of space at Bengaluru Terminal 2’s 080 Lounge.

On this occasion, Campbell Wilson, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Air India, said

Airline-airport synergy is key to elevated customer experience and efficient operations, while Bengaluru is highly attractive as an origin and destination market as well as a connecting hub. We are therefore delighted to be strengthening our relationship with BIAL with a view to developing a greater presence at the airport, expanding air connectivity as well as building a major MRO center. This partnership agreement is a significant milestone in the ongoing transformation of Air India.

Hari Marar, Managing Director and CEO, Bangalore International Airport Limited, said

As the busiest airport in South India, BLR Airport is dedicated to strengthening its position as the primary international gateway in Southern and Central India. This collaboration aligns perfectly with the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s vision of developing Indian airports as hubs, reflecting our commitment to enhancing the passenger experience. Given that over half of the international outbound travellers from Bengaluru and our catchment head to Europe, North America, Australia, and the Far East, our alliance with Air India represents a substantial leap towards this goal. We aim to capture a significant share of long-haul routes from BLR Airport over the next five years.


Air India is going to make Bengaluru an integral part of its plans and develop a hub out of the airport there. As part of its plans, BLR will also get an Air India Lounge, which will be the second airport in the network to get one (after Delhi).

What do you make of Air India emphasizing Bengaluru as its hub?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. If Air India does develop BLR as a true Hub,needs early connections to MAA/Kochin/Coimbatore and HYD.I hate waiting in Airport till the morning for flights which now happens with Lufthansa.No,I dont want to connect in Dubai.I know lot of high income ,professional Indian Women who won’t fly ME3Alone,due to their preception of poor treatment.

  2. I still think Air India has the necessary clout to work with GoI to improve the “connection” process when you got International to Domestic at the big Indian hubs without having to pick-up your bags. Similarly, a separate Immigration process for domestic connections will speed things up as well.

    Maybe a system where bags are scanned by customs and and passengers have to “claim” them at BOM/DEL/MAA/BLR, etc before they are sent onwards to their domestic flight.

    The convenience factor is a big reason why the Gulf carriers still cannibalise a massive amount of traffic into secondary/tertiary airports in India.

    • @Dev, the Emirates of the world are just transferring the bags airside with no liability to them. In India, just like in the US and other parts of the world, I>D bags need to be on the person to scan for any imports that may not be wished to be imported or have to be taxed. I haven’t seen it work any different in any other part of the world. Have you?

      • In Shannon, where BA1 LCY – JFK did the refuelling stopover.

        Bags were “claimed” electronically at the US CBP.

        Admittedly, that was for 32 pax but it could be scaled up.

      • Many years back, I had travelled BLR-CDG-HAJ and collected bags at Hannover (while passport control was in Paris). Not sure how this worked since the CDG-HAJ leg would have been considered domestic?

        • Hey Ajay,

          I believe that must have been an AF flight where the CDG-HAJ segment is a continental flight within the EU and so that must have probably been the reason why the checks happened at HAJ as that was the last stop..

          So it’s considered as a I+I connection similar to how the ME3 airlines operate

          If there was a pax travelling from BLR-CDG-NCE for example on an AF flight, then I’m quite sure the baggage claim would have had to happen at CDG before checking them through to NCE..

          • Yes, it was an AF flight! Got it, so for a hypothetical passenger who boards at CDG and flew to HAJ, there would be no passport control (because of the flight is operating within the Schengen zone) but they would be subject to customs?

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