B'lore International airport set to launch at midnight

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Bangalore, May 23: Finally, when the clock strikes 12, the long-awaited and the much deterred Bangalore International Airport will be launched. The whimsical Union Aviation Authority in the eleventh hour post-poned the launch of BIAL by a day today. The Rs 2,500-crore BIA, completed in 33 months from July 2005, has so far seen three delays: March 28; May 11; May 23 and now to May 24.

Official sources said it was decided on the advice of the Chief Election Commission as Karnataka's third and last phase of voting for the assembly elections ends on Thursday. Mr Albert Brunner, CEO, Bangalore International Airport Ltd, said, "We are taken by surprise. In fact, we have just closed a press conference communicating our preparedness for tomorrow. However, there is nothing we can do at this point. All our efforts are now towards minimising passenger and airline inconvenience owing to this postponement."

The Central Govt notification read; "The central government hereby notifies that the Bengaluru International Airport at Devanahalli would be commissioned with effect from 00.01 hours of 24th May, 2008, instead of 00.01 hours of 23rd May 2008 as notified earlier."

Officials at the HAL airport said they had no formal communication about the new date. Ater a delay of over 50 days and a cost over-run and revenue loss of more than Rs 300 crore, BIAL is all set to see the light of the day.

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