A milestone was achieved at Port Blair’s Veer Savarkar International Airport on Friday after a Kolkata flight of budget carrier SpiceJet made the first ever night landing by a civil airliner at the airport.
The successful operation of the flight SG-251 on September 11, 2015 at 6.10 pm, 50 minutes post-sunset, paves the way for similar flight movements after sunset. The airport was recently upgraded with improved runway, lighting and navigation systems to allow commercial night flying.
The upgrade of the airport has been carried out by the Andaman and Nicobar administration, with support from the Civil Aviation Ministry, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Andaman and Nicobar Command and Airports Authority of India. The first night landing was allowed after a thorough safety risk assessment was conducted.
The SpiceJet flight was commanded by Capt. Gurcharan Arora and Capt. Ranbir Singh and the 212-seater Boeing 737-900ER aircraft VT-SLD was greeted upon arrival by a grand water cannon salute, an aviation tradition to mark key milestones.
The aircraft later departed for Kolkata at 6.45 pm as SG-261, thereby completing a cycle of landing and take-off from the Port Blair airport during the night time, an airline spokesperson said.
“This is another landmark achievement to realise the vision of our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to increase connectivity to the remotest parts of India,” said Lt Gen AK Singh, Lieutenant Governor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “I congratulate SpiceJet for being the pioneering airline to undertake the night landing at Port Blair, and look forward to SpiceJet and other airlines now adding regular night landing flights to Port Blair providing more domestic connections, and introducing international connections as well ”, he said.
“We are extremely happy at being provided with the opportunity of conducting this history-making flight, and would like to extend my hearty congratulations to Capt. Gurcharan Arora and Capt. Ranbir Singh and their crew, as well as to the AAI, DGCA, airport officials at Port Blair, our flight operations, flight safety, and airport operations teams, and to everyone else involved in making this a success”, said Sanjiv Kapoor, Chief Operating Officer, SpiceJet Ltd.