Sunday, March 09, 2008

Devanahalli takes flight

Devanahalli takes flight
DH News Service, Bangalore:
Recording a decisive shift in its development phase, the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) on Friday had six different aircraft touch down on its brand new tarmac.

Yet March 7, 2008, 10 am will go down as one of those moments recorded for posterity in the annals of Karnataka’s civil aviation history. For at this precise time, the first commercial airliner landed at the airport. The public flight trials had just begun.

The landing of the Kingfisher flight from Mumbai under a clear bright sky also signalled BIA’s graduation to a different stage. Its tarmac was now all ready to handle take-offs and landings of flights from world over.

Before cheers and applause broke out among the big crowd of airport employees and passengers, there was an air of suspense as the Kingfisher aircraft with officials and media personnel onboard circled in the skies for a while before touching down at the airport.

This moment of history, was followed by the landings of five more aircraft. As part of the flight trials conducted at the airport in a near live environment, an L&T owned Beechcraft 200 aircraft from Mumbai arrived 15 minutes after the first flight landed.

This was followed by the landings of three Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft from the nearby IAF Station, Yelahanka. First came an AN-32, which landed at 10:45 am, followed by an Avro 15 minutes later. At 11:20 am, a Deccan airline flight arrived from the HAL Airport with local media personnel on board. Last to touch down was a Dornier aircraft of IAF at 11:20 am.

According to BIAL, the Kingfisher airline which arrived from Mumbai tested the international arrival and entered the terminal building through the boarding bridge. While, the Deccan airline used the remote parking bay and tested the domestic arrival. Close to 400 people participated in this historic trial run. The facilities, procedures, systems and trained staff were also tested on the occasion.

The timing of the final flight trials is ahead of March 30, 2008, the scheduled date of launch of commercial operations at the airport.

An elated Albert Brunner, CEO, BIAL said that the sight of aircraft landing at the airport runway was an “overwhelming moment”. “We have effectively demonstrated our readiness to handle a real life airport situation for both domestic and international flights. We are now confident that we will present Bangalore with a first class airport that will make its citizens proud,” he said. Performance is being measured carefully and corrective action will be taken accordingly. Trials will continue well into the month, he added.


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