25 May 2008

New Bangalore airport

New Bangalore airport

The Bengaluru International Airport on Saturday inaugurated and handled 341 air traffic movements, including 172 arrivals and 159 departures, setting a record of sorts on the inaugural day of commercial operations.

"It was business as usual on Day 1. Though a weekend, we have been well prepared to handle the heavy traffic from the new airport. The air traffic control guided about 100 aircraft in landing and taking off during the first 24 hours of commencing the operations," a spokesperson of the airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), told IANS.

The Rs 2,500-crore swanky airport at Devanahalli, about 40 km from India's IT hub, took to wings in the wee hours of Saturday, with state-run Air India flying the first aircraft to Singapore 15 minutes past Friday midnight (00.15 IST) amid euphoria and anxiety over the arrival of other aircraft in the odd hours due to the simultaneous closure of the old airport in the city.

"The first 18 hours of day one operations have been satisfactory in comparison to other such transitions the world over. Teething problems apart, the operational take-off has been smooth. The glitches will be tackled within a week".

The poor connectivity between the gridlocked city and the new airport did not impact much the vehicular movement due to less traffic on the weekend. The magnitude of the connectivity problem will be known on working days from Monday, as the arterial road to the airport is used by vehicles hitting the National Highway No.7 towards Hyderabad.

"Concerns over traffic ordeal and long delays in reaching the airport were cast away by many passengers, as the average time taken from the city or suburbs varied between 60 minutes and 90 minutes. The frequent shuttle service of state-run transport corporation buses between city points and the airport was in great demand from many outgoing and in-coming passengers."

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