“I am the happiest man in the world” said Albert Brunner, CEO of the BIAL consortium.
He has good reason. His seven years of perseverance, along with his dedicated team, has concluded with the smooth opening of the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) on May 24, 2008.
Barring a few glitches here and there, the experience was “awe-inspiring” for many Bangaloreans, who, up till now, had to put up with the small AAI owned terminal at HAL airport. Reactions were rightfully positive, and the praise is well deserved.
Air India IC 609, an Airbus A320, from Mumbai was the first flight to touch down at BIA, which was turned around as IC 957 to Singapore, and became the first flight out.
In parallel, the era of HAL, and its decades of faithful service to Bangalore was coming to a close. Jet Airways 9W 2512, an ATR-72-500, to Mumbai and Singapore Airlines SQ503, a Boeing 777-200, to Singapore, were the last commercial domestic and international flights respectively.
Many aircraft that landed at HAL for their final flights, were then ferried across to BIAL to commence operations this morning. There were emotional thanks from the flight crews to the Air Traffic Controllers at HAL for their years of dedicated service, again the praise is rightfully deserved. The ATCOs at HAL will continue to operate the skies of Bangalore, controlling all the traffic to the south.
These many ferry flights created a small traffic jam in the skies over BIAL, causing minor delays, in inbound flights, who were forced to orbit, till landing slots opened up. Air France AF 192 from Paris, became the first international flight to land at BIAL.
But these are minuscule and teams at both airports, BIAL and HAL should take a well deserve bow to all the cheers that are due to them
Welcome to Bangalore, BIAL.