Chandigarh, March 31 (IANS) A record number of 130 flights, mostly chartered, arrived and flew back from the Chandigarh airport within a span of less than 24 hours for the India-Pakistan semifinal clash, officials said Thursday.
According to airport officials, 65 flights were operated between 6.30 a.m. Wednesday to 1.30 a.m. Thursday. On a normal day, just 12 flights arrive and take off at the airport. So, in effect, Chandigarh airport set a record of sorts with 130 flights arriving and taking off.
“Nearly 65 flights have successfully landed and taken off from the Chandigarh airport on a bay of just 108 metres. This is, in fact, a world record and it has not happened anywhere before,” H.S. Toor, Chandigarh airport director, told IANS.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani arrived here Wednesday along with a 45-member delegation for the match.
However, except for the aircraft of the two prime ministers, no other private or chartered plane was allowed to park at the Chandigarh airport. They either went back or flew to nearby locations in Haryana and Punjab.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia also accompanied Manmohan Singh on the same flight.
International Cricket Council president and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar reached here Wednesday morning. His party colleague, Heavy Industries Minister Praful Patel was here too.
Leading Bollywood actor Aamir Khan, director Madhur Bhandarkar, actor Suneil Shetty, and Vivek Oberoi and his wife were also among those who arrived here for the match at Mohali, 10 km from Chandigarh.
Industrialist and IPL team Kings XI Punjab co-owner Ness Wadia as well as United Breweries’ chairman Vijay Mallya and his son Siddharth also arrived here.
Normally there is no scheduled flight at Chandigarh airport during night. But the air traffic control (ATC) managed by the Indian Air Force decided to work till late night after getting requests.