Bangalore Kempegowda International Airport is the busiest airport in South India, and third-busiest in the country behind Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. It was built to replace the government-operated HAL Airport, which had been serving the city since the 1940s but was inadequate to handle the increase in passenger traffic as Bangalore morphed into India's tech capital (now nicknamed the Silicon Valley of India).
Kempegowda International opened in 2008 with a single integrated multi-level terminal and capacity of 11 million passengers per year. A 2013 expansion increased its capacity to 25 million passengers. However, the airport's operations have already outgrown the terminal—there were nearly 34 million passengers in 2019, making it the fastest growing airport in the world! A second runway was commissioned in late 2019, and a massive second terminal is planned to double the airport's capacity to 50 million passengers per year. The terminal is unlikely to be functional until 2023 though, as the works are delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once Terminal 2 is ready, all domestic flights will fly in and out of Terminal 1, exclusively. The design of the new terminal is rooted in sustainability and will offer travelers an airy garden ambiance, whereas the white and silver walls symbolize the technology that Bangalore is now known for. A multipurpose concert arena is part of the plan but will likely be delayed as well.
Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
Kempegowda International Airport (BLR) is named after the founder of Bangalore, Kempe Gowda I. Driving into the center typically takes an hour, but can take two hours during peak travel times.
- BLR is located north of the city in Devanahalli, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) away from the city center.
- Phone Number: +91 1800 425 4425.
- Website: www.bengaluruairport.com
- Flight Tracker: https://www.bengaluruairport.com/travellers/flights/flight-information.html
Know Before You Go
For now, the airport's domestic and international operations (except charter flights for Hajj pilgrims) are all housed under one roof. The rectangle, single-terminal layout is much simpler and easier to navigate than other airports of its size and caliber (think about John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, with a whopping six terminals).
Domestic and international departures both share the same check-in hall on the ground level, while the departure gates are located on the upper level. The higher numbered gates are generally for international departures. Domestic travelers should take the escalator on the left side of the terminal up to domestic security check, while international travelers should head right for immigration. Arrivals and baggage claim are on the right side of the departures hall.
Men and women used to be screened separately at the airport but a new, more cohesive screening system has eliminated gender segregation. This has reduced waiting times significantly.
The airport is connected to 82 destinations, including 25 international cities, by 36 airlines. Air France, British Airways, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Qatar Airways, Lufthansa, and Malaysia Airlines are some of the major ones. In addition, the airport is a hub for the domestic operations of IndiGo, AirAsia India, Alliance Air, GoAir, and Star Air.
Kempegowda International often experiences fog, especially early in the mornings and in the evenings, from November to February. If traveling during these times, be prepared for flight delays or cancellations.
Members of the public who aren't flying but want to enter the airport terminal building must buy a visitor ticket, which is good for up to two hours and costs 100 rupees ($1.41 USD). Visitor tickets are sold curbside near the arrivals hall.
Kempegowda International Airport Parking
There are three parking lots: one for motorbikes, one short-term, and one long-term. P1, on the west side of the airport, is dedicated entirely to motorbikes, seeing as they're such a major means of transportation here. Parking a two-wheeler in P1 costs 20 rupees for up to four hours, plus 20 rupees for each additional four hours. Parking a car in P2, the long-term budget lot, costs 100 rupees for up to two hours and 50 rupees per extra two hours after that, up to 500 rupees for 24 hours. Each additional day is 300 rupees. P3 is the short-term premium lot. It's located closest to the terminal, adjacent to the taxi lot, and costs 100 rupees for the first hour and 50 rupees for every hour after that. There is no daily maximum.
Alternatively, passengers can be dropped off and picked up for free outside the airport terminal, as long as vehicles don't stop for more than 90 seconds.
Most tourists take taxis or public transportation. Those who do drive should take National Highway 44 out of the city and head south about 12 miles before exiting at the airport, which is well signposted.
Public Transportation and Taxis
Passengers can now finally travel very cheaply by train between the airport and city center, following the commencement of an Indian Railways suburban airport train service in early January 2021. Trains run from the newly constructed Kempegowda International Airport Halt Railway Station near the airport to KSR Bengaluru City (at Majestic), Bangalore Cantonment, Yeshwantpur, and Yelahanka stations. Tickets cost 10-15 rupees, one way. Travel time is 45 minutes to an hour. A shuttle bus service is provided to transport passengers between the station and airport terminal, with fares as low as 10 rupees. The only drawback is that the train timetable won't suit all flyers, with currently only two city services per day and none on Sundays.
- Trains from Kempegowda International Airport Halt Railway Station depart daily, except Sundays, as follows: to Yelahanka at 6.22 a.m., Cantonment at 7.45 a.m., Yeshwanthpur at 8.21 a.m., and KSR Bengaluru City at 6.43 p.m. and 10.37 p.m.
- Trains to Kempegowda International Airport Halt Railway Station depart daily, except Sundays, as follows: from KSR Bengaluru City at 4.45 a.m., Yelahanka at 7 a.m., Yeshwanthpur at 8.30 a.m., Cantonment at 5.55 p.m., and KSR Bengaluru City at 9 p.m.
The prepaid taxis at the airport are expensive and not worth the price, so travelers usually prefer to take a metered taxi. You'll find them in the designated area to the left after you exit the arrivals hall. Expect to pay 700-1,200 rupees to the city center. You can keep the cost down by opting for a non-air conditioned trip.
Rideshare apps like Uber and Ola operate from the airport as well and have dedicated pick-up zones. The Uber Zone is located behind Quad by BLR retail plaza and the Ola Zone is near P2 parking, just beyond the bus stop. The fares are slightly cheaper than regular metered taxis.
Save money by using Vayu Vajra, the airport shuttle bus service provided by Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), instead. These Volvo buses are scheduled to depart every 30 minutes, around the clock, and offer 10 different routes from the city. The cost is 170 to 300 rupees one way, depending on the distance. There's also the Flybus, which transports passengers from the terminal to Mysore and Manipal.
Note that auto-rickshaws are not permitted inside the airport. Passengers may be dropped off at the entrance to Trumpet Flyover on National Highway 7 and take a shuttle bus (10 rupees) to the airport.
Where to Eat and Drink
Travelers who don't fancy the standard airport fare of fast food and grab-and-go sandwiches can have a real culinary experience at La Tapenade Mediterranean Cafe, opposite Gate 33 or La Alta Vita, an Italian trattoria opposite Gate 12. Quick eats include Taste of India, opposite Gate 17 or Noodle (Asian), opposite Gate 35. Wash your food down with a cocktail from Bar 380, adjacent Gate 37, or a cup of hot chai from Chai Point in arrivals.
How to Spend You Layover
The luxury five-star Taj Bangalore hotel is situated opposite the airport. It has facilities such as accommodations, restaurants and bar, swimming pool, wellness spa, and fitness center. There's a transit hotel inside the airport terminal.
The airport has four lounges that can be accessed by paying passengers and selected cardholders—two in the domestic security hold area, and two in the international security hold area. They're being renovated in phases and transferred to a new operator, Travel Food Services, starting from June 2019. The process is expected to be completed mid 2021. Until then, depending on when you travel, some of the lounges may be closed.
WiFi and Charging Stations
Wi-Fi is available at Kempegowda International but can only be accessed if you have an Indian cell phone number. Once you're registered, you will be prompted to enter a password that is sent via text message. If you don't have a local number, you can use one of the computers at the free-to-use internet stations located throughout the terminal. Power stations, with eight outlets apiece, are located at every gate.
Kempegowda International Airport Tips and Tidbits
- Porters can be hired to carry luggage. The charge is 200 rupees for domestic and international departures and domestic arrivals. It's 300 rupees for international arrivals.
- A left luggage facility is provided in the arrivals area. The cost ranges from 470 rupees for up to 12 hours to 4,010 rupees for up to 120 hours. The maximum duration of storage is five days.
- Note that you may need coins to access some restrooms at the airport.
Airports Authority of India. "Investors Annual Reports." Retrieved Jan. 4, 2021.
Elite Business Magazine. "How the tech city of Bangalore became the Silicon Valley of India." Published April 17, 2019. Retrieved Jan. 4, 2021
Simple Flying. "The history and rise of Bangalore International Airport." Retrieved Jan 4. 2021.
Economic Times. "Bengaluru International airport records double-digit growth with 34 million passengers last year." Published Jan 27, 2020. Retrieved Jan 3, 2021.
Bangalore Aviation. "Bangalore Kempegowda airport embarks on expansion plan to cater till 2030." Retrieved Jan. 4, 2021.
Bengaluru Airport. "Airline Parnters | BIAL." Retrieved Jan. 4, 2021.
The Indian Express, Bengaluru: Train services to Kempegowda International Airport begin, January 5, 2021.
Bangalore Mirror, Take a Train to the Airport for Just 10 rs, January 2, 2021.