Saturday, March 17, 2012

India Aviation 2012 show disappoints visitors

HYDERABAD: It was a disappointing day at the India Aviation 2012 for the thousands of Hyderabadis who thronged the venue on Day 1 of the two-day public show on Saturday. Apart from ruing the 'missing' aircraft -- the Dreamliner and three others had flown out before the gates were opened -- they also grudged the absence of aerobatics and heavy security barricades. What, however, saved the day for many were the two helicopters -- Bell and HAL -- the only attractions still parked in an otherwise near-deserted exhibition hall.

The show opened on a dull note with poor turnout of visitors. However, the crowd started to swell as day progressed with large groups of enthusiastic visitors walking through the gates. From students to families, with children in tow, to even senior citizens descended on the Begumpet airport to catch a glimpse of the 17 aircraft that had stayed on post the three-day business meet. "Children are always thrilled to see planes. But I wish they were allowed to take a closer look at them," said T Anuradha from Mehdipatnam in between managing her tiny tots who looked all too eager to pull down the barricades and make their way into the stationed jets.

The soaring temperatures in the open arena, where the aircraft were on display, prompted visitors to seek refuge in the air-conditioned comfort of the exhibition hall where, apart from large-sized helicopter models, miniatures of airbuses and Boeing aircraft were lined up. A mammoth crowd was seen gathering around the HAL stand where kids were given a chance to take a sneak peak into the interiors of the flying machine. "This has turned out to be the only attraction of the air show this year," said a junior college student V Vidyuth while posing with his friends for a photograph with the chopper. He added, "Last year, we at least got to see the planes in action. This time it's all very boring." That he and his friends had to shell out Rs 200 each to only see a handful of aircraft from behind security barricades was something the teenager wasn't too happy about.

And while the younger lot complained about the lack of 'adventure' at the show, the elders rued the absence of basic facilities promised by the authorities. While the organizers, in a release issued on Friday, had stated that visitors parking their vehicles outside the airport premises would be ferried to the venue, there seemed to be no such arrangement in place on Saturday. "We saw no bus or car at the gate to take us inside. It has caused us much inconvenience," said P Raju (62) who along with his wife was seen painstakingly making his way to the exhibition arena, which is a good kilometer or two away from the main road.


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