Mangaluru, Aug 10, 2020: The air crash incident at Kozhikode airport has put the runway expansion at Mangalore International Airport (MIA) under intense public scrutiny.
Soon after the incident, BJP leader Capt Brijesh Chowta tweeted, “Unfortunate! Reminds us of what we saw here in M’lore. Both tabletop runways. But thankfully, this flight has minimum casualties so far. Last year too, we had many instances of tragedy averted at the last moment in M’lore.
We who pride in having an airport since the days of Nehru whose flight was the 1st to land here, have unfortunately stayed put with our merits of the past.”
The recent tragedy is a reminder of the need to look at the infrastructure demands at our airports especially in tier-2 cities which are pegged at being the drivers of development in the next decade to come, he stressed.
Mangaluru being developed as an economic hub is important for the growth of Karnataka.
As the pandemic has shown us yet again, the need for taking development to our tier-2 cities is crucial, given the times we live in, he added.
“A basic tabletop one was a need in 1951. But for a town like Mangaluru, that has the strategic advantage in terms of its talent pool, its geographical positioning, cannot lose out on all that it can be just because we fail to see what we lack. If the runway cannot be extended, like was said after the crash, why can’t we have a new one that can be one of the milestones in bringing the world to ‘Destination’,” he tweeted.
There was a demand to increase the runway from the present 2,450 metres to 3,050 metres.
MIA Director V V Rao said that MIA has upgraded its safety aspect after 2010 air crash tragedy. The instrument landing system (CAT ILS) is commissioned. The apron has been improved and new air traffic control tower has been set up. Rao vouches that in the past 10 years, much has changed at the airport.
The total number of passengers handled during 2010-11 was 8.45 lakh, which has increased to 18.76 lakh in 2019-20. In 2010-11, a total of 9,431 aircrafts were handled while in 2019-20, 15,685 aircrafts were handled.
KCCI president Isaac Vas said improving basic infrastructure facilities at the MIA should get priority.
MIA former director M R Vasudeva said that measures were taken for safe landing as per the recommendations of the expert committee following 2010 air tragedy.
“Runway end safety area (RESA) on both the sides of the runway was increased to 240mX90m,” he said.