Proposal to extend runway by 1 km; land acquisition under way
The State government has plans to expand the Mangalore airport. Apart from a new terminal, the proposal is to extend the runway by one kilometre and the process of land acquisition for the same is under way, R. Roshan Baig, Minister for Infrastructure Development, Information and Haj informed the Legislative Council on Friday.
Replying to a question raised by Congress member Ivan D’Souza, Mr. Baig said the government had set aside Rs. 3,399.36 lakh for acquisition of 396.67 acres of land. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will undertake extension of runway and other allied development once the land is made available, he said.
The existing concrete runway is 2,450 m long and the length of the old tar runway (flexible pavement runway) is 1,468 m.
The Directors of Mangalore airport and Airports Authority of India had submitted a preliminary technical feasibility report on the airport’s expansion to the government. Quoting the report, the Minister said the project is estimated to cost Rs. 1,120 crore. “The report, however, does not mention anything about the financial viability. It also does not include any commitment from the AAI on bearing the cost,” Mr. Baig said.
It had been estimated that the project requires acquisition of 289.33 acres of land as the expansion of the runway involved filling up a valley. “For this, we have decided to acquire the adjacent three hills and hand it over to the AAI,” he said.
Following the directions of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, measures had been initiated to get reports on the financial viability of the project and the feasibility of taking up the project through public-private partnership, Mr. Baig said.
Apart from serving domestic travellers, Mangalore airport has direct connectivity to many locations in the Gulf, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Sharjah, Muscat, Doha and Dammam. The expansion would help the airport attract bigger aircraft, he said.
When Mr. D’Souza pointed out that Air India’s direct flight from Mangalore to Kuwait had been stopped, Mr. Baig said it was done because of the passenger load factor. He assured Mr. D’Souza that he would discuss the issue with Minister of State for Civil Aviation G.M. Siddeshwar and get the flight to resume operations.
AFSHAN YASMEEN(The Hindu)