Jan 24
Constructed by L&T, the Terminal 2 of Kempegowda International Airport is a wonderful blend of sustainability and elegance.
Right from the moment she boarded the cab, Alice had been glued to her mobile screen.  She lifted her eyes occasionally, glanced out of the window, then swung back to surfing Instagram.  She had input her destination on the cab app, and was sure the chauffeur would drive her there well in time.
About 40 minutes into the ride, as Alice lifted her eyes once more, she was a bit puzzled! Instead of her destination, the chauffeur seemed to have driven into a sprawling garden! But Alice didn’t panic. Rather, she opened the app to check where the cab was heading to and was relieved to find that they were indeed approaching the T2 of Kempegowda International Airport from where she was to catch a flight.
Driving up the smooth approach road flanked by a soothing expanse of greenery, the cab moved into T2’s Level 3 which houses the departure hall of the terminal. Alice picked up her luggage and looked around in amazement – there’s so much greenery all around that it felt like she was in a garden and not a busy airport terminal!
That was only the beginning! As Alice stepped inside the building, more surprises were in store – a corridor flanked by vertical garden walls ushered her into the check-in area. At the far end of the corridor, water cascaded down a cylindrical structure resembling a Shivling.
Bright sunbeams were peeping through the roof crisscrossed by engineered bamboos of golden shade.
Alice looked up and her eyes fell upon large bells and veils with decorative plants suspended from the ceiling like majestic chandeliers in a stately palace of the Nizams. She was at once possessed by the overwhelming feeling of being in a grand royal court!
The awe-inspiring grandeur is on a scale unparalleled by any other airport. Such a magnificent structure has been constructed and brought to life by L&T, whom the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) had entrusted with the task of building this new-age sustainable airport terminal.
T2 is located within the Kempegowda International Airport premises and stands about half-a-km from T1. Both the terminals are connected through an at-grade road network.
Boasting a built-up area of 2.86 million sq ft, T2 is spread over 112 acres of land, that is, as large as 64 international football grounds. It has a basement, a ground floor and four upper levels and is integrated with a multi-modal transport hub housing a multi-level car park and a bus station. The transport hub will be subsequently integrated with the metro railway.
Unlike the usual brick-and-mortar airports, the unique feature of T2 is its gardens in various constructs – hanging garden, calming garden, sunken garden and an artificial forest belt. While BIAL secured this innovative concept of ‘a terminal in a garden’ from noted US architectural firm SOM, L&T’s Buildings & Factories arm subsequently undertook the detailed design and commenced the construction in October 2018.
But for the COVID pandemic which derailed all schedules, the terminal would have been completed by 31 March 2021. Nevertheless, L&T navigated through the disruptions by employing innovative construction methods and facilitated the inauguration of T2 by Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi in November 2022.
At the peak of the project, together with the officials, as many as 5,200 workmen sweated it out to make this happen. Thanks to strict adherence to the protocols mandated during the COVID lockdown, Karnataka government appreciated it as a model construction project. This is because, notwithstanding the nationwide panic of migrant workers, L&T was able to retain and take care of 4,000-odd workmen at the site during the lockdowns.
“We (L&T) did lot of innovations and out-of-the-box planning to make T2 a reality. This is the first project in the world wherein engineered bamboo tubes have been used for ceilings and wrappings; rattan has been used extensively for fixed furniture and internal millwork, and brick-embedded precast panels have been used for building cladding,” says Project Director Mr JK Shivaraj.
Engineered bamboo is a composite item developed by compressing and laminating multiple bamboo strips. Since bamboo grows fast, it absorbs more CO2 than is released during the production of engineered bamboo. That’s why the use of engineered bamboo in urban infrastructure is a sustainable approach.

In T2, as much as 923 km engineered bamboo tubes have been used in the ceiling and column wrappings, visible on the departure level, giving it an unparalleled look that any rival would envy.
The use of brick-embedded precast panels, visible on the two arrival levels, is a unique architectural element that L&T devised for the project. This replaced the conventional manual brick cladding, thus saving both time and labour.
“We embedded pressed clay bricks at the time of casting the precast panels and subsequently straightway placed the panels in building cladding. Thus, although the panels replaced the manual brick cladding, it still appears like bricks are laid one over another,” says Mr KP Maheshwarappa, the Deputy Project Director.
“This innovation not only expedited the work but also met BIAL’s aesthetic requirements,“adds Mr Santanu Guha, Head – Project Controls.
T2 is also the terminal that has witnessed the largest application of architecturally exposed structural steel in India, and together with elements like engineered bamboo, rattan furniture and brick-embedded precast panels, it has rendered the terminal a soothing aesthetic look.
Although anxiety over getting late for a flight or anger over a delayed flight are quite common, the overall soothing ambience of T2 will surely alleviate such stress and give fliers a tranquil experience.
In addition to providing all the amenities that a flier expects at a modern airport, T2 offers a little more. For example, two-in-one wash-&- dry faucets in the washrooms let you wash as well as dry your hands using the same tap.
The terminal is designed to handle 25 million passengers per annum (MPPA) in its first phase. Thus, together with the existing T1’s 27 MPPA capacity, T2 has augmented the overall passenger handling capacity of Kempegowda International Airport to 52 MPPA. That’s not a small figure and it has elevated the airport’s stature in the global aviation landscape.
To give fliers relief from long queues, T2 has 56 check-in counters, 10 re-check counters, 34 self-baggage-drop counters, 9 baggage conveyors, 23 boarding bridges, 11 fixed linked bridges, 15 bus gates, 15 departure emigration desks and 27 arrival immigration desks.
An automated Self Baggage Drop (SBD) system is another unique feature of T2, and this is a first in India.
Unlike the prevailing system wherein fliers are required to drop their baggage at designated counters manned by airline staffers, this automated mechanism enables fliers to drop their baggage at unmanned check-in belts without the intervention of airline personnel.  One SBD can cater to as many as 40 airlines.
“The SBD is equipped with passenger-friendly kiosks. These kiosks are designed in such a way that check-in, seat selection, boarding pass printing, baggage weighing, payment for excess baggage, printing of baggage tag all can be performed by a flier on a single screen and subsequently place the baggage on the belt for dispatch,” explains Mr Anne Sriramkumar (Head – MEP of T2 project).
“At the end of this quick automated process, an acknowledgement receipt will be issued to the flier,” he adds.
Alice was surprised how quickly the check-in formalities were completed and soon she was aboard her aircraft. Settling into her seat, she gazed out of the window. The T2 experience lingered, and she felt relaxed and energised at the same time.
As her flight took off, Alice looked at the airport through her ‘looking glass’ - the window - and wistfully wondered whether some day all of India’s airports would be just like the T2 of Kempegowda International Airport.

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