Bengaluru International Airport launches commercial operations

The brand new Bengaluru International Airport Ltd (BIAL) was thrown open for commercial operations in the early hours of Friday with the first flight, Air India IT 609, winging its way to  Singapore. The commencement of services would have provided a massive sense of relief to BIAL officials as the airport has seen its launch postponed on atleast three occasions, and continues to be mired in litigation.

The new airport is located at Devanahalli, 31 km away from the city.

The first flight to land at the security-enveloped airport was the Air India IT 609 from Mumbai at 10.40 pm. According to original plans, a Jet Airways flight was to land from Mumbai at 9.45 pm, but this was rescheduled because of an Election Commission stricture, which said no flight could land in the new airport before 12.01 am on Saturday.

This was relaxed, however, for Air India flight IT 609 that landed at 10.40 pm, as the same aircraft was to leave for Singapore at 12.05 hours. Eshwar Paul, Air India's pilot for the Singapore flight, was privileged to fly the first flight out of the new airport.

The Jet Airways flight, which was to land at 9.45 pm on Friday, landed at 12.36 am on Saturday.

Barring a minor technical snag at the check-in counter all operations went smoothly.