New possibilities for Mangaluru International Airport

Team Udayavani, Dec 6, 2018, 3:23 PM IST

  • In the backdrop of beginning of Kannur International Airport

The Mangaluru International Airport (MIA) is the contact link for Karavali’s tourism, business, export, education, health and for its complete local development. However, on Dec 9th, Kannur International Airport will begin functioning, almost as a competition to MIA. In reality, MIA is being shaped into a passenger-friendly airport with latest equipments. On one side lies the question of increasing the standard of service provided and on the other, there is the fear of privatization – These two are the present questions.

Mangaluru: A new international airport will start functioning from the neighbouring Kannur within a week. Also, there is a possibility that from this month onwards, connecting flight services to Kuwait, Saudi and other countries might be started from the states 3rd largest Hubli airport. The two important developments have opened new options for the passengers who otherwise opted for MIA.

The flights to other countries from Hubli airport will not affect much on the passenger density at MIA. But Kannur airport might have an effect. “Udayavani” visited Kannur airport and made a report of its current features. Therefore comparatively, MIA is getting a facelift with the implementation of similar latest facilities and services. There is an expectation for even more flights to be started from here.

Very close to the city

Bajpe airport is at a mere distance of 12 kms from the city and has a good road connection. It takes only 15mins to reach the airport from the city. The New Mangalore Port also is close by. It is convenient for the people coming by train to board their plane. In comparison to Bengaluru Airport and the new airport at Kannur, Mangaluru airport has the upper hand of quick access through rail, road and water. Hence, along with encouraging Karavali’s tourism it also has the capacity to raise it even more as a financial heaven.

New RADAR navigation

MSR/MSSR Radar technology is been installed at the airport now. With this, it will take lesser time for the flights to land and take off. Soon, the landing will be possible directly instead of taking a turn around the Air Traffic Control system. Because of this, passenger’s time will be saved as well as the fuel of the airline. Also, the cost of maintenance will come down. For now, this facility is available only at big airports.

Increase in runway safety

The MIA runway’s current width is 75 meters. The runway safety basic strip and alternate taxi track are being widened. The runway width is being extended to 150 meters at the cost of Rs 121 crore and will receive international standards. Because of this, even if the plane slips on the runway, there should not be much danger.

20 flight per hour

Currently, MIA has the capacity to handle 13 planes an hour. But with the widening of the runway, creation of an alternate taxi track and the implementation of other technologies, it will have the capacity to handle 20 flights per hour in the future.

Very long runway unnecessary

In the backdrop of the new models of plane and the latest technologies, a very long runway is unnecessary. The length of the runway at MIA is 2,450 meters and is enough for “A 320” Airbus model planes. Expecting huge Airbus flights with a passenger capacity of 400 passengers at MIA is not functional. Even more importantly, the newly invented planes take lesser length of the runway and take off vertically. Therefore, in the future, there is no need for the extension of the runway from 2,450 meters to 3,050 meters as in Kannur or to even 4,000 meters. Besides, the argument that more planes and bigger planes cannot fly from the airport since the runway is short or has not been extended is faulty, informs the technicians at MIA.

Three times increase in passenger density

The passenger traffic at MIA which was 7.5 lakh in 2012 has increased to 23.5 lakh in 2017-18. The number of passengers coming to the airport has increased by three times. The 8.67 metric tonnes of cargo handled here in 2016-17 has increased to 23.38 metric tonnes in the year 2017-18. Even in cargo, the increase exceeds expectation. In comparison to other few airports in the country, MIA is much ahead with a greater profit and it is worth mentioning that it is being upgraded to attract even more passengers.

Article by Suresh Puduvettu translated into English by Aaron Dmello

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