Hyderabad: The new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) at Shamshabad commenced commercial operations on 23 March 2008 with a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt touching down at the airport at around 12:24 am.
The 76 passengers onboard the flight received a warm welcome from GMR Group officials, the developers of the airport.
UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, had earlier inaugurated the airport on 14 March. It is located at Shamshabad, about 30 km from Hyderabad.
The Rs2,470 crore airport has several firsts to its credit, amongst them the fact that at 4.26 km it has the longest runway in Asia and at 75 metres it has the tallest air traffic control (ATC) tower in the country.
The greenfield airport, spread over 5,400 acres, is a joint venture of the GMR Group (63 per cent), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (11 per cent) and the Airports Authority of India and the Andhra Pradesh Government (13 per cent each).