BENGALURU: A milestone in Bengaluru’s aviation history was created on Tuesday at 10.05 am when Terminal 2 of Kempegowda International Airport witnessed the landing of its first international flight. A total of 212 passengers were on board the Saudia Airlines flight from Jeddah (SV 866) which arrived safely on the New South Parallel Runway, ten minutes before its scheduled arrival. The return journey, of flight Jeddah (SV 867) was the first to depart from T2 at 11.50 am. The first Indian airline to start international operations from T2 was IndiGo (6E 1167) which took off from the same runway to Colombo by 12.10 pm with 130 passengers.
A grand entertainment programme with Dollu Kunitha and Yakshagana artistes was staged outside Gate One of ‘Arrivals’ to welcome T2’s first batch of international flyers. Earlier, the traditional lamp was lit by airport authorities with IndiGo staff as well as Saudia Airline staff separately.
Almost 90 per cent of those who arrived on the first flight were Umra pilgrims from Karnataka, who were accompanied by tour operators.
Many spoken to, gave a big thumbs up to T2. Among them was Maaz Khan, a HR professional in Bengaluru. “It was a very good experience. We received a very nice welcome from all staff at the airport, as soon as we reached,” he told TNIE.
Priyanka Singh, a cabin crew member of Saudia Airlines, said, “It was a real surprise for me. I had no idea this would be the first international flight for this terminal. I saw other crew really excited about it and only then I understood its significance.”
Hari Marar, MD & CEO BIAL, said in a statement, “The commencement of international operations at T2 represents a major milestone for Bengaluru airport. With this move, international operations will be exclusive to T2. We look forward to strengthening Bengaluru’s connectivity.”
What they said
The commen-cement of international operations at T2 represents a major milestone for Bengaluru airport. With this move, international operations will be exclusive to T2. We look forward to strengthening Bengaluru’s connectivity.
Hari Marar, MD & CEO BIAL
“I have never seen flights at such a close range. It is so thrilling to watch them take off and land like this.”Sanjana, student (visitor at T2)
It was a very good experience. We received a very nice welcome from all staff at the airport, as soon as we reached Maaz Khan, HR professional (passenger at T2)
View of North runway from T2: A sight for sore eyes
Among the many attractions of Terminal 2 is the fabulous close view of flights landing or taking off, or just being parked on the North Runway. The Level 3 of the terminal just near Gate 1 of the Departure Zone, is the perfect viewing spot. Visitors and flyers are spotted ambling around and keenly watching the aircraft starry eyed, or clicking pictures.
A fleet of Indigo aircraft can be spotted parked this side. When this reporter visited the spot, an Eithiopian Airlines flight was stationary while an Air Asia flight was landing and an IndiGo flight was preparing to take off, making for a very colourful sight. S K Chellaiyan, a businessman, who was thoroughly excited to be at T2 said, “Just this spot could emerge as a big draw for Bengaluru. I travel extensively and have visited eight airports within India. Even in smaller airports like Pune or Madurai, we do not get such a close-up view of all flights.” A security official on duty nearby said, “People who come and take a look want to linger on for some time. Everyone enjoys it really.”
Clockwise from top: Kempegowda International Airport staff take a selfie at Terminal 2 on the inaugural day of international operations.