Bangalore, Mar 11: The opening of the Devanahalli international airport is almost certain to be put off, with the Civil Aviation Ministry taking a dim view of the airports preparedness to begin commercial operations.
This view was understood to have emerged at a meeting chaired by Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel on Monday. Ministry Secretary Ashok Chawla also participated in the meeting. This will be followed up by another official-level meeting in the next couple of days. The ministry decided to await the report from the Airports Authority of India on the “preparedness of the airport" and another from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation — the airport licensing authority — before taking a final decision.
As per the current plans, the Bengaluru International Airport is to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 28 and the commercial operations are to begin on March 30.
The officials told the meeting on Monday that AAI might need more time to complete the installation of the Air Traffic Control equipment and training of air traffic controllers to handle the systems.
The ATC equipment landed late at the Chennai harbour. Following this, it was brought late to the Devanahalli airport site, delaying the installation process. As a result of this, the test flights of March 7 had to be conducted by the ATC situated at the HAL airport and guided by the Yelahanka ATC.
The Deccan and Kingfisher Airline flights — the inaugural test flights — had to resort to visual landing instead of relying on the instrument landing system. The AAI, at the meeting with Patel, broached the demand of the ATC personnel that they needed a minimum 15 days" training after the equipment was installed.