A Coast Guard official here told The Hindu that in addition to the land at the airport, the Coast Guard had sought 15 acres from the State Government.

The Airports Authority of India (AAI) will shortly allot 2,000 square metres in the old airport at Bajpe to the Indian Coast Guard for keeping its helicopters, said the Director of Mangalore Airport M. R. Vasudeva. The land will be allotted on lease, he told The Hindu.

“The process of handing over and taking over the land has begun,” he said.

A Coast Guard official here told The Hindu that in addition to the land at the airport, the Coast Guard had sought 15 acres from the State Government near the old airport to set up its base. It was yet to be given possession of the land. The parking of its helicopters at the airport will help strengthen rescue operations and coastal security, the official said. Mr. Vasudeva said the upcoming air cargo complex at the old airport would have a facility to store up to 10 tonnes of cargo. In addition, a cold storage would have a capacity to store up to three tonnes of cargo.

He said provision would be made to store sensitive and hazardous goods.

“We are creating infrastructure for the demand to handle cargo from Mangalore to grow,” the director said.

Mr. Vasudeva said that works on the new air traffic control (ATC) complex at the airport is expected to be over by June, 2013. Total passenger traffic at the airport went up by 16 per cent to 4.86 lakh in the first half of this year when compared to the corresponding period of 2011.

Data with the AAI said that more domestic passengers travelled through the airport in the first six months of this year when compared to the corresponding period last year. The domestic traffic went up by 24 per cent to 3.65 lakh this year, on the back of new flights from SpiceJet.

The total movement (arrival and departure) of domestic flights went up by 3,859 during the period this year.

International passenger traffic fell by 2.63 per cent to 1.21 lakh during the period this year mainly because of strike by Air India pilots. Parallel to it, the movement of international flights came down by 98 during the period. Air India is the sole operator of flights to West Asia from Mangalore. The strike by its pilots and cancellation of some flights because of the strike resulted in the fall in international traffic and flight movements this year.

SpiceJet introduced its flights from Mangalore to Hyderabad, Chennai, and Mumbai in the second half of 2011.

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