VIJAYAWADA: The first Singapore-Vijayawada-Singapore direct flight was piloted by pilots from the two Telugu states — AP and Telangana.
While Chandra Rajesh, grandson of freedom fighter and Communist Chandra Rajeswara Rao flew the first international direct flight to Singapore from Vijayawada, the return flight was piloted by Shafi Ali Khan of Hyderabad. As many as 150 passengers flew to Vijayawada while 88 flew to Singapore in the first flight.
Loud cheers from the passengers greeted Mr Rajesh when he introduced himself in Telugu.
Mr Rajesh said he was very happy to fly the first international flight from Vijayawada airport and told the passengers that he was brought up in Vijayawada and completed his studies in the city.
He learnt how to fly an aircraft in Hyderabad and recalled that he used to come to Gannvaram (Vijayawada) airport flying small planes and the fact that there were only two rooms in the airport.
He reminded that now Vijayawada airport was being developed as a major airport and congratulated the passengers.
Businessman P. Bhaskar said that he was a construction contractor in Singapore and shuttled between Singapore-Chennai- Hyderabad-Vijayawada. He said that with the starting of direct flight to Singapore, he would save time and money.
K.N. Mani, a passenger, welcomed the direct flight to Singapore and said that the service should be introduced on weekends.