Airport extension work might cost Rs. 1,200 crore, says Vasudeva

Mangalore Airport Director M.R. Vasudeva said on Thursday that Jet Airways would operate another daily flight service between Mangalore and Mumbai from October 28. The aircraft would leave Mumbai at 6.30 a.m. and arrive here at 8 a.m. It would take off at 8.30 a.m. and arrive in Mumbai at 10 a.m.

At a meet-the-press programme organised by the Dakshina Kannada District Working Journalists’ Association here, he said that it would be the fifth daily flight service between Mangalore and Mumbai. Jet Airways operated two flights, and Spice Jet and Indian Airlines a flight each between the two cities now.

Mr. Vasudeva said that after the Union Cabinet agreed to accord international status to Mangalore Airport, some private airlines had evinced interest in operating their flights between Mangalore and Dubai.

The number of such operators would be known in March next. Only Air India Express operated its flights from Mangalore to West Asian cities now. There was scope to operate more flights to West Asian cities from here.

Mr. Vasudeva, who will retire from government service on October 31, said that if larger aircraft were to operate from Mangalore, the main runway would have to be extended by a km and widened to 300 metres.

This needed 250 acres of land. This extension work might cost Rs. 1,200 crore. Considering the cost involved in extending the runway, it was up to the people of Mangalore to decide whether they should have a new airport or develop the existing one. The airport could now handle medium range aircraft such as Airbus 310, he added.

Mr. Vasudeva said the operating profit of the airport went up from Rs. 9.50 crore in 2010-11 to Rs. 12.50 crore in 2011-12.

Referring to the area control centre at the airport, he said it provided navigation facility for landing and take off of aircraft at Kozhikode and Kochi airports.

Pilots landing at those airports could avail themselves of the service from the area control centre at Chennai airport also.