Bangalore–Bangalore International Airport (BIA) Wednesday achieved a milestone by flying its 50 millionth passenger five years after the greenfield project took off in May 2008 under public-private partnership.

“This is a special day for us as we have crossed this milestone of handling 50 million passengers within five years of operations and testifies our ability to meet the demand and growth of the domestic and international air traffic,” Bangalore International Airport Ltd. (BIAL) managing director Sanjay Reddy said in a statement here.

To mark the historic occasion, BIAL greeted its 50 millionth flier Jagadish Punna with a surprise hamper (basket containing choclates) and offered free usage of its food and beverages in the airport terminal as a special gift for one year.

The airport, which is operated by the Hyderabad-based GVK Group as the consortium’s majority stakeholder, monitored about 500,000 (five lakh) aircraft movements and handled one million tonnes of cargo since May 2008.

The airport terminal is being expanded to handle 20 million passengers annually from 2014, marking 100 percent capacity growth.

The operator handles 285 aircraft movements daily, services on average about 32,000 passengers a day.

Currently, 33 domestic and international carriers operate from the airport, connecting 51 destinations across the country and the world. Three overseas airlines — Malaysia Airlines, Silk Air of Singapore and AeroLogic — increased their frequencies during this year.–IANS