New Bangalore airport handles 331 flights on launch day

Bangalore: The newly launched Bengaluru International Airport said it handled 341 air traffic movements, including 172 arrivals and 159 departures on Saturday. This was a phenomenal achievement given that it was the inaugural day of the launch 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 take off during the first 24 hours of commencing the operations," a spokesperson of the airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) said.

The Rs 2,500-crore airport at Devanahalli, located about 40 km from Bangalore, launched operations in the early hours of Saturday, thanks to a Election Commission imposed moratorium on operations in place because of the ongoing State elections in Karnataka. India's flag carrier, Air India, had the privilege to fly out the first aircraft - to Singapore - 15 minutes past Friday midnight (00.15 IST).

The city's old HAL airport, located in the city, simultaneously closed operations.

"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," BIAL said in a statement later.