Amrish Bhatia will take a 14-hour flight across time zones in the hope of seeing Sachin Tendulkar score his 100th international century.
The 43-year-old will be flying 7,000 miles from Sydney in Australia to watch India take on arch rivals Pakistan at the semi-finals of the 2011 Cricket World Cup in Mohali on Wednesday.
“The love of cricket takes over common sense,” Bhatia admitted. “I had planned this trip in September last year, but confirmed it finally on Monday morning. It was not an easy
decision leaving behind the family, and the wife to manage the two children and our new puppy.”
Unprecedented rush of cricket lovers, such as Bhatia, has forced domestic carriers to operate additional flights to Chandigarh for the Mohali match. Mohali is a 30-minute drive from Chandigarh.
Kingfisher Airlines will be operating an additional flight each from Mumbai and Delhi on March 30.
Kaushik Khona, chief operating officer, GoAir, said that the airline was awaiting approval to operate additional flights to Chandigarh from Mumbai and Delhi. A Jet Airways spokesperson also said that the airline is looking to assign additional flights to Chandigarh from two metros subject to regulatory approvals.
The demand of additional flights was felt after existing scheduled flights were sold out even as the fare on the usually lull sector shot up dramatically last week.
Mumbai airport officials said that many private jet owners are geared up to catch the big match live.
“Some private jet owners have informally told us about the unscheduled journey on Wednesday. They are likely to submit their flights plans by Tuesday,” said an air traffic control official, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the media.
Private charter companies have also been getting several queries for exclusive sorties. But bookings were not confirmed till Monday night because the Chandigarh airport has run out of parking space.
“The cost increases by around Rs 2.5 lakh if we have to park at the Delhi airport or Amritsar airport,” said Nikesh Goswami from Leo Air Charters, a Vile Parle-based private air charter company.