Udayavni Special

MIA: More opportunity than anxiety


Team Udayavani, Dec 10, 2018, 5:54 PM IST

The 4th international airport in Kerala was inaugurated at Kannur on Dec 9th. This airport is located 180 kms from Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) and with the beginning of the functioning of the new airport; it’s natural for the nearby airports to feel anxious on the issue of the passenger number. In this backdrop, the Managing Director of Kannur Airport V Tulasidas had a special interview with ‘Udayavani’ and gave information on how much of a competition the new Kannur airport is to MIA. On the other hand, the director of MIA MR V V Rao also spoke with us.

1) There is no problem to MIA from Kannur airport. But may attract more passengers from the closer Kallikote airport. Since there is an increase of plane passengers from 20% to 25% , the existence of new airports close by will not that bad a situation. Also, since we have a good road and railway connectivity, the possibility of a fall in passenger number is very slim. By 2020, MIA will be attracting even more passengers with its new facilities. The work on extension at the airport has only just begun. The facilities to fulfill the necessities of the passengers in the future will also be available with us.

2) According to the feedback rating given by the passengers to us, we are currently in the 3rd position as one of the best airports in the country. But this rating has happened in only two faces and the 3rd phase will be completed in December. If this result comes, MIA may be selected on the frontline of the airports in Asia itself.

Mangaluru International Airport director V V Rao

3) Now, daily we are conducting 30 flights here. It is true that there is a delay in the flights due to technical reasons. But that has to been looked after by the particular airline companies and it is not an airport problem. With the latest navigation system and with the installation of the instrument lighting system (ILS) lights, there are very less chances of hindrances for landing due to heavy cloud presence or due to low light.

4) Mangaluru does not require the flight of huge airplanes. We too rely on gulf passengers and there, an A320 airbus model planes are more convenient. The present existing runway of 2,450 meters is enough for their flight. Now, in order to increase the service to Gulf countries, the management capacity of the flights is being increased. Separate resting rooms will be created at the airport for the passengers to rest during the night. In the same way, a separate website and app will be readied for MIA.

5) We have also asked for permission for foreign airline companies but haven’t received it yet. Even Andhra’s new capital Vijayawada airport too hasn’t received permission for flight of foreign planes. So while permission is given for Kannur for foreign airline flights, Mangaluru too will get it. The current basic facilities at our airport are at par with service of the foreign airlines. But the decision to give permission is that of the central government.

6) It is a decades long demand for a airport in the northern Malabar regions of Kerala. In 1930, when TATA Airlines commercial service was started, the then Mumbai- Thiruvananthapuram flight was landed in Kannur.

Kannur International Airport M D Tulsidas

7) Due to Kannur airport, the passenger numbers to the nearby airports may be affected slightly. It could be Kallikote or Mangaluru. But that is temporary. After Thiruvananthapuram came Kochi, followed by Kallikote and now Kannur airport has come. Currently, the passenger number at all the three airports in Kerala has only increased and not decreased.

8) Along with the increased in travel facilities, the number of passengers has also increased. It is natural to travel by the airport which has opened close to the house. Therefore, when a new airport is created, the close by airports need not take it as a question or consider it with anxiety. Kannur airport should be considered as an opportunity of growth for MIA instead of a question. Because of this airport, the number of passengers coming to Karnataka-Kerala will increase. Until now, the tourists had to come to Madikeri, Bengaluru or Mangaluru and then carry on with their journey via road. As the distance between Kannur and Madikeri is only 80 kms, the number of tourists will double. This will encourage business and transactions in both the states.

9) We are expecting more passengers from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Bharain, Saudi, Kuwait and other Gulf countries. Demands have come for flight services to Singapore and Malaysia as well. Request has been sent for permission for foreign airline companies. Since 5-6 years till now, the number of domestic flights has increased by as much as 20% and due to this reason; we will be starting service to most of the metros in southern India. Go Air and IndiGo will be providing their services to Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram and Hubballi while Air India Express will be giving their services to Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Doha and Sharjah. In future, services will be started for Singapore and Muscat.

10) According to me, if MIA is to be upgraded. Its runway needs to be extended. I don’t know if there is land available for it or not. MIA is a good airport and has plenty of opportunity to increase its domestic flights along with international flights. If an airport is to be identified as a good airport, primarily the passenger coming to the airport must feel satisfied. There should be an environment such that passenger who has visited once must feel like visiting once again.

Article by Suresh Puduvettu translated into English by Aaron Dmello

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