Friday, May 16, 2008

Its official: BIA opens on May 23

Its official: BIA opens on May 23
From B S Arun,DH News Service,New Delhi:
It is now official. The Bengaluru International Airport launch will finally take place on May 23.

The civil aviation ministry has issued an order to this effect late on Wednesday. “It has been decided with the approval of the competent authority to commence operations of the Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli with effect from 0001 hours on May 23, 2008,” the ministry said in a statement, a copy of which is available with Deccan Herald.

This newspaper had reported on May 13 the possibility of the airport kicking off on May 23 (exactly two months after the gala inauguration of the new airport at Hyderabad).

The ministry order followed the licence to the airport issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Thursday. Also, the DGCA issued NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) — a notice to airlines and aviation authorities, regarding airport opening.

Low-profile launch

As per the contractual agreement among the promoters — BIAL, State and Union governments — the existing HAL airport will be closed the moment the BIA begins operations.

The long-pending launch will be a low-profile affair considering the fact that election process would be still underway in the State. The formal commissioning date would be decided by the popular government that would take office after the counting of votes on May 25.

There were two aborted dates for the inauguration already — March 30 and May 11. The reason for this was attributed to the delay in installation of the air traffic control systems and the ‘on-site’ training to the air traffic controllers.

Reason for delay
Interestingly, there is a story behind the delay which was not publicised hitherto. The arrival of the ATC equipment was delayed for over two months and it was because the ship ferrying the machinery from its manufacturing base in Italy was diverted midway and sent back near home to Barcelona. After it resumed journey, it got stuck at Colombo harbour, reportedly because of some customs issues. It reached the Chennai shore only two months after the schedule.


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