The memorandum of understanding (MoU) involves a study of viable hyperloop corridors with the aim of making the airport into a multi-modal transport hub. The pre-feasibility study, which focuses on technical, economic and route feasibility, is expected to be completed in two phases of six months each.
Hyperloop involves passenger-carrying pods travelling at high speed in low pressure tubes. With speeds of up to 1,080km/h, it could transport thousands of passengers per hour from BLR Airport to the city centre in under 10 minutes, according to the preliminary analysis.
Virgin is one of a number of companies developing hyperloop systems around the world. Another of the routes being developed by Virgin Hyperloop is also in India. It would reduce journey times from central Pune to Mumbai to 25 minutes, as opposed to the current 3.5 hours or more by road.
Virgin’s partner in the new MoU is Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), operator of Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (BLR Airport).
“We are honored to partner with Bangalore International Airport Limited to explore ways in which hyperloop can become a part of the solution to tackle congestion and support economic growth in Bengaluru” said Sultan bin Sulayem, chairman of Virgin Hyperloop and group chairman and CEO of DP World. “Beyond just the transit of passengers, airports are crucial conduit for goods, especially time-sensitive deliveries. A hyperloop-connected airport would dramatically improve the delivery of cargo and create an ultra-efficient supply chain.”
BIAL aims to make BLR Airport a transportation hub that connects people and places together through various modes of transport. In addition to its well-established road network, BLR Airport will shortly be connected by a suburban railway and will have metro connectivity in four years.
"The government of Karnataka has implemented several measures to improve the transport infrastructure of the state,” said TM Vijay Bhaskar, chief secretary of the government of Karnataka and chairman of BIAL. “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.”
Virgin Hyperloop CEO Jay Walder said: “As India’s hub for technology and innovation, Karnataka is embracing hyperloop as a way to keep pace, support clean growth, and open new opportunities for the city. A hyperloop-enabled airport would not only allow for faster travel times, it would create a 21st century passenger experience and expand airport capacity.”
BIAL MD and CEO Hari Marar added: “At BIAL, our vision is to make BLR Airport the new gateway to India by transforming it as a transportation hub. We are excited to take this landmark step which can catalyse the economic growth of the state of Karnataka and the region. Technological innovation is key to building and sustaining a world-class transportation hub, and this study is an important step forward. This mode of transportation offers enormous economic potential, connecting passengers at unprecedented speeds, with zero emissions.”