BENGALURU: At 7.41 am on Thursday, a piece of aviation history was created when the first ever flight landed at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in poor visibility conditions.
Indigo's 6E-6389 from Lucknow had a successful touchdown on the South Runway. This is the first time a flight has ever landed in low visibility conditions in any airport in South India.
The airport commenced operations on May 24, 2008. However, fog and wintry weather conditions ensured frequent disruptions in travel plans of lakhs of flyers from November to February annually as flights could not operate due to visibility issues.
According to an official release from airport operator, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), "Radiation fog set in during the early part of the day, resulting in a rapid drop in visibility to 200 metres. During this time, IndiGo flight 6E-6389 from Lucknow made a successful touchdown at 7.41 am."
The South Runway can facilitate aircraft landing with a Runway Visual Range as low as 50 metres and take-offs at 125 metres, the release said. "Before the upgrade, the permissible visual range was 550 metres and 300 metres, for landing and take-off, respectively. This upgrade by BIAL is expected to reduce disruption in operations and would immensely benefit passengers during inclement weather conditions," it said.
The Chief Executive Officer of BIAL, Hari Marar told TNIE, "The successful landing under the CATIIIB conditions is a fabulous accomplishment for all of us at Bengaluru airport. This stands testament to our firm commitment to equip the airport with cutting-edge technology to make the airport experience as enjoyabla and seamless as possible."
KIA becomes the sixth airport in the country to be equipped with this facility. The South Runway became operational on December 6, 2019 and after a series of tests, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation certified it as CAT-III compliant on December 31, 2020. It is the only operating runway in the airport as the North Runway was shut on June 22, 2020 to carry out rehabilitation and upgradation works.