Process on to get 39 acres for airport runway strip expansion project

The process of getting 39 acres for the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for developing its airport in Mangaluru is on, according to Sasikanth Senthil S., Deputy Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada.

The AAI had sought 33 acres from the State government for widening the basic strip of the runway. The runway strip is meant for ensuring safety of an aircraft in case of overrunning, undershooting and veering-off the runway during landing or take off.

Speaking after inaugurating a seminar on “Introduction to air services and air cargo” organised by the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here on Saturday, Mr. Senthil said that land owners were demanding outright purchase of their land at market rate. It included some small portions of their land which, otherwise, would be of no use to them. Hence, the district administration has proposed the government to get 39 acres, including six more acres than that sought by the AAI. The process is not yet completed.

The Deputy Commissioner said that Mangaluru International Airport is equipped to operate efficiently for the next five decades. It would be developed further and there is no proposal to have another airport in the region now.

To a question, he said that the government would be consulted to frame guidelines on preventing airlines and other public transporters from charging exorbitant travel fares during natural and other calamities coming in the way of road connectivity.

There were allegations of airlines in Mangaluru Airport charging exorbitant fares when the Shiradi Ghat and Sampaje Ghat were closed due to landslips in heavy rain.

M.R. Vasudeva, former director, Mangaluru International Airport, said that as the aviation industry is fast developing, airlines have been placing demands for new aircraft. It would require more parking slots in airports, training for pilots to fly a particular type of aircraft, training facilities, spacious runway, passenger facilities in the terminal buildings and the like. The government would have to address them.

The former director said that the increase in the cost of aviation turbine fuel is also a matter of concern and should be addressed. “The low cost careers have taken the aircraft service to the doors of middle class in India,” he said.

Vathika Pai, president, KCCI, spoke.

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