When I came across the post on the RFL running group about running on the runway at the new Bangalore airport, I couldn’t not be interested! I mean, how many times will I get the chance to say while looking our of the aircraft window (feeling really cool and all that, might I add), â€œOh, do you know that I ran on this runway once?â€ 🙂
The new Bangalore International Airport is located at Devanhalli, which is on the way to Nandi Hills and around 25kms from Cubbon Park. So if you live in South Bangalore (including me), we have serious reason to worry! Anyway, back to my report.
So early morning, on January 13, around 415 am we set out to Cubbon Park and boarded the bus that was to take us to the venue. Braving the cold weather and thick mist cover, about 30 people boarded the bus, the rest choosing to come in their own vehicles.
At around 515 am after some delay we started off. In the pitch darkness we couldn’t see much but we did all realise that our destination was quite far (and this was off peak!)! It took us nearly an hour to reach there. After which we had about a 15 minute stop at the gate to wait for everyone to assemble.
After that, just as twilight was breaking, we started off into the airport premises from the main gate and by around 630 am we were at the assembling point. At 7 am, Marcel from the Zurich airport team and one of the key initiators of this run, explained the route and then we were all off.
In the beginning, we could hardly see a thing – the mist was pretty heavy. After a few minutes, I caught a glimpse of the faster runners disappearing into the horizon and settled down into my comfortable (slow!) pace.
Running on the runway is a little odd because there seems to be no end in sight : just endless tarmac in front of you.
They had set up 2 aid stations with coffee, tea and biscuits so that was a nice break because I definitely needed some caffeine in my system.
It took me around 1 hr 10 minutes to complete the loop (which Toufeeq informs me was around 8.5 km). However, my shin splits are getting increasingly worse after runs, so I’ll need to figure out how to get it under control.
Anyway, back to the new airport!
At around 845 am after another round of tea and biscuits or so, we all went towards the Air Traffic Control tower and climbed 15 storeys upto the very top from where we got some great views of the whole expanse of the area, the terminal building and Nandi Hills.
Then, the Zurich airport team took us for a terminal tour in batches and showed us the different areas. Apparently, the airport was first mooted in 1998 and was finalised only in 2005, nearly 7 years later. By then of course, all the estimates had gone up considerably. So, thought he terminal building is quite large in comparison to our current building, it will still not be enough in a few years time. But going by the size of the airport, they should have scope to expand. They are already planning for an extra runway to be completed around 2012.
We walked around and asked quite a few questions, more importantly, whether the airport would really be ready by the date given : 31 March 2008 : and we were assured that it was true.
Though it doesn’t look like its anywhere near completion, at least to a lay person, apparently looks can be deceiving! Well, we’re all definitely looking forward to seeing it when it’s all new and ready to be opened to the public.
Of course, whether we can all reach there in time for our flights is just another matter altogether!
Post on Bangalore Metblogs