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New airports to be passenger-friendly

March 18, 2008 11:46 IST

The two new green-field airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore promise passengers better entertainment and pleasure facilities than Indian airports have so far managed.

If and when they do get there, passengers will be able to choose from a wide range of food options, bars and entertainment brought to them by one of the best in the business internationally - HMSHost, which creates customised shopping and dining spaces in travel venues in more than 90 airport locations worldwide, including 19 of the 20 busiest airports in North America. It has annual sales in excess of $ 2 billion and has won seven-year contracts at both the new airports.

While casinos and gay bars may be a while away, in Bangalore, the king of good times, Kingfisher, is setting up a Kingfisher Sports bar, a first for the UB group and one of the few sports bars in India - a concept that's highly developed and immensely popular in the UK and Germany.

It's a natural brand extension for Kingfisher, says Shekhar Ramamurthy, group president, UB group who sees it as an opportunity to build his Kingfisher beer brand in a casual yet stylish atmosphere.

The bar will organise activities, events and build excitement around matches and sporting events. Cricket matches, car racing events and so on will be highlighted and promoted at the spacious and trendy bar, which will be located at the international departure lounge in Bangalore.

And if sports is not your cup of tea, there will be an overdose of coffee through Café Coffee Day, Barista and Illy Espressomonte outlets at the airport.

The third will offer Illy coffee, a premium brand of Italian coffee offered in 'proper' Italian coffee shops, and is sure to give Barista and Café Coffee Day a run for their money. The Illy Espressomonte outlets will also offer a menu of small quick bites, making its food range slightly better than its competitors.

Passengers keen on the harder stuff - they may well need by the time they get to the airport - can head to the Time Out bar, a 'hot spot' for the young, urbane cocktail crowd. It will resemble a typical lounge bar -- the kind that is sprouting up and shutting all over the country with unerring regularity -- with a sleek long gleaming bar and jazz music.

Also, instead of the grubby and slightly sad outlets that make travelers at existing metro airports lose their appetite, pizza - one of the top three food categories chosen by passengers surveyed in airports worldwide - will be offered through Pizza Hut at the new Bangalore airport.

After passing into private hands, Delhi airport's terminal B offers Nirula's fare but no pizzas. Recognising that Indians have taste buds that are primarily Indian, there will be Taste of India, offering a range of typical Indian signature dishes throughout the day.

Hyderabad's USP will be its Bollywood theme restaurant and bar, an upscale casual restaurant conceptualised by Wizcraft (the entertainment company), which has roped in the International Indian Film Academy.

So those with a long wait can catch the latest Bollywood movies on giant TV screens, in a surrounding where memorabilia will keep alive the memories gone by.

Travellers who miss Paradise's special biryani in the city of Hyderabad can now get a taste of what the city raves about at the airport at the 'Indian Paradise Hyderabad Biryani' outlet. It will also offer other Indian curries from the south and the north.

There will be a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) outlet for those addicted to chicken and a Pizza Hut express for those addicted to pizza.

A HMS host brand - Grab & Fly outlets - will be strategically positioned in rush areas and will cater to travellers looking for water, juice and sodas, light snacks such as nuts, fruit and energy bars, pre-packaged sandwiches, salads and desserts.

And coffee drinkers - just like at Bangalore - will be bewildered and spoilt by the array of options to choose from. There will be Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Company which will also offer iced blended coffee drinks and an extensive menu of specialty teas, muffins and light sandwiches.

One of HMSHost's own brands Espresso-To-Go will sell an international selection of gourmet specialty coffee drinks including Café Au Lait, Espresso, Cappuccino, Macchiato, English Teas and American Hot Chocolate to cater to true coffee connoisseurs. A second brand of HMSHost, The Coffee Club, will also be available in both the international and domestic area.

In addition to this, there will be a locally branded Indian coffee shop in the domestic area. Coffee will come out of passengers' ears, if current plans are anything to go by.

Anjuli Bhargava in New Delhi