The Centre declaring the customs aerodrome in Mangalore as an international airport during 2012 came as a feather in the cap of more than six-decade-old airport.
After the Union Cabinet at its meeting on October 4 cleared the proposal to declare Mangalore as an international airport, the government notified the same on October 22. The airport was formally declared international six years after it began international operations to West Asia.
According to M.R. Vasudeva, who retired as the Director of Mangalore International Airport at the end of October, it was on October 3, 2006, that the first Air India Express flight from Dubai landed in Mangalore airport, marking the beginning of its international operations.
The Centre had declared Mangalore airport as customs aerodrome on May 3, 2006. The airport had begun operations in 1951 with Dacota flights, Mr. Vasudeva said.
The international tag to the airport has paved the way for private airlines to begin operations to international destinations from Mangalore by breaking the monopoly of the State-owned Air India Express.
According to J.T. Radhakrishna, presently director of the airport, the private carrier Jet Airways would operate a flight from Mangalore to Dubai daily from January 3, 2013.
Mr. Radhakrishna said that currently the operation time of the airport was from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and all the flights were operating during the same time.
The arrival time of the Jet Airways from Dubai from next month would be at 4.30 a.m. on all days except Fridays when it would arrive at 3.30 a.m. The airport would have to be ready to handle an aircraft one hour in advance of its arrival time. Hence from January 3, the airport would function from 3.30 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. On Fridays, it would start functioning from 2.30 a.m., he said.
The airport would handle the flight by providing all operational facilities. The customs and immigration have agreed to extend their cooperation, Mr. Radhakrishna said.
Meanwhile, the airport in September handled a wide-bodied jet Airbus 310 with 220 Haj-bound pilgrims in it for the first time.
The State government cleared the three package solid waste management scheme of Mangalore City Corporation which was pending for clearance for more than two years. It approved the bidders of the scheme.