The US-based hyperloop technology company Virgin Hyperloop has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) to conduct a feasibility study for a proposed hyperloop corridor from the city's international airport to the hub. The pre-feasibility study will focus on technical, economic and route feasibility and is expected to be completed in two phases each taking about six months.
Assuming that the hyperloop transport operates at a speed of up to 1,080 kmph, thousands of passengers can travel from airport to the city within 10 minutes, according to preliminary estimates. "A hyperloop-enabled airport would not only allow faster travel times, but also create a 21st century passenger experience and expand airport capacity," said Jay Walder, CEO of Virgin Hyperloop.
In 2017, the same company had inked an MoU with the Government of Karnataka to conduct its preliminary study to understand hyperloop's feasibility and economic impact in the region. Virgin Hyperloop had earlier said that it saw huge potential by linking Bengaluru's city centre, IT hubs and industrial parks on the city's periphery, by improving connections between fast-growing industrial hubs within the state such as Tumakuru, Hubli and improving air travel accessibility by connecting Bengaluru's airport to the city centre in minutes. "The commissioning of a feasibility study for hyperloop connectivity from BLR Airport is another major step towards building the infrastructure required to define mobility for the future, enabling the efficient movement of people," said Mr. TM Vijay Bhaskar, Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka and Chairman of the Board of Directors, BIAL.
While the idea seems a panacea for airport commuters, that the realisation of the project could take many years is a non-brainer. A top bureaucrat at Urban Development Department also said that a lot would depend on the findings of the report, the hurdles and also its impact on the proposed ORR-Airport metro line where the financial closure is awaiting approval from the centre. If the project sees the daylight, not just commuters but also BIAL could see its revenue realisation per passenger go up. But with the much hyped Rs 70,000 crore Mumbai-Pune hyperloop project seeing hiccups every now and then, the realisation of a hyperloop project in Bengaluru perhaps at best won't be possible for at least a decade or even more, say urban transport experts.