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Begumpet Airport is now history

M. Srinivas

Commercial flight operations come to an end on Saturday

— Photo: Satish H.

Last flight: Passengers boarding the last flight to Singapore taking off from the Begumpet airport in Hyderabad on Saturday night waiting with the relatives at check-in pointon Saturday.

HYDERABAD: Passengers shared hugs and greetings, air-hostesses struck high-fives in jubilation on completing the last flight and employees nursed regrets even as khaki-clad security personnel heaved a sigh of relief.

These images at Begumpet airport will remain for posterity as commercial operations at the airport came to an end with the Singapore Airlines flight taking off at 11.40 p.m. on Saturday.

Even as it meant a new dawn in aviation with the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport in Shamshabad going on stream at 12.25 a.m. on Sunday, the decades-old Begumpet airport wore a melancholy look. With ground handlers vacating their offices and re-locating to Shamshabad, the usual buzz and the air of expectancy associated with the airport was missing from Saturday evening itself.

“We feel sad about the closure but at the same time it’s good to have an airport with world-class facilities,” said T. Ramakrishna, a software engineer bound for Australia via Singapore.

Another traveller Aparna Prasad from Vikrampuri in Karkhana showed her disappointment.

“The old airport is in the heart of the city, while there is no proper road connectivity to Shamshabad,” she sighed, before boarding her flight. She is going to US via Singapore.

The last commercial flight from Begumpet left many of its employees and frequent travellers heart-broken. Several of them huddled together in groups at the main terminal and recalled their past experiences.

Most of them are still unable to come to grips with the fact that the commercial operations at Begumpet would cease to exist from Sunday.

Defence operations, emergency services and movement of VIPs and private aircraft would, however, continue at Begumpet.

As the airport closes, the serpentine queues of curious onlookers comprising wide-eyed children and teenagers along the Fatehnagar flyover and airport boundary wall at Tarband in Bowenpally, would be a thing of the past.

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