Mangaluru, May 22, 2015: In spite of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) giving its permission for the expansion which includes increasing runway length, the project has been in limbo due the State government’s failure to acquire the required 280 acres of land.
Five years after the country’s third biggest air crash of May 22,2010, in which 158 people were charred to death, the Mangaluru International Airport, which handles 23 arrivals and departures every day, is yet to see the promised expansion.
P.M. Jayasimha Shetty, secretary of Mangaluru Air Crash Victims’ Families Association stated that the victims do not need memorials. What is required is the expansion of the Mangaluru airport, the second biggest in Karnataka. The accident could have been averted had the runway been of a more correct length . The airport’s expansion would not only enhance safety features but also increase flight handling capacity. Dr. Shetty told the media that it was beyond his understanding why crores of rupees being spent on airports in Mysuru, Shivamogga or Belagavi, which may not require air connectivity.
Mangaluru International Airport Director J.T. Radhakrishna said the AAI has cleared the expansion proposal subject to condition that the government would hand over 280 acres of additional land. There has been neglect in land acquisition. The work would take at least five years more. It would enable the airport to handle larger flights as well as increase its capacity. Now it earns about Rs. 68 crore a year, close to break-even. The expenditure on the expansion can be justified in view of anticipated increase in the traffic, he said.
Work on the proposed memorial for the Mangaluru air crash victims, near Kulur bridge, off NH 66, is likely to start today May 22, Friday, the fifth anniversary of the accident.
DK DC Adoor .B. Ibrahim stated that the memorial park would come up on about half acre land belonging to the New Mangalore Port Trust, where the 12 unidentified bodies of the crash have been buried. NMPT, along with AAI and Air India, will develop the park and hand it over to Mangaluru City Corporation for maintenance.
Proposals to build the memorial near the airport were resented by many people on the ground that it would have a depressing effect on future passengers which serves no purpose.