Expanding runway at city airport not feasible, Aviation Ministry tells LS

The Civil Aviation Ministry felt that the runway capacity would be enhanced only marginally.   | Photo Credit: file photo

Putting an end to demands to expand the runway at Mangaluru International Airport, the Civil Aviation Ministry has told the Lok Sabha that it is not feasible.

“The runway expansion at Mangaluru is not feasible due to huge land fillings, high cost, and operational challenges,” the Ministry said on July 18, 2019.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation (Independent Charge), replied to unstarred questions by Nalin Kumar Kateel, B.Y. Raghavendra, and D. K. Suresh on Thursday.

The members wanted to know whether there is a need to expand the runway, whether the government has received any representation for it, and if the Ministry has taken any steps for the same.

The Minister said that the former MLA of Mangaluru City South J.R. Lobo had given a representation “to construct a new runway for wide bodied aircraft proposing to use the existing runway for smaller aircraft”.

“The proposal was not found feasible owing to dependent operation of the proposed new runway on the existing runway, rehabilitation of the parties affected by the project, and the high cost of construction. It was found that despite these interventions the runway capacity would be enhanced marginally only.”

Referring to other questions by the members, the Ministry said that the Air India Express flight while operating from Dubai to Mangaluru met with an accident of runway overrun during landing at Mangaluru on June 30, 2019.

A Spicejet aircraft while operating from Bhopal to Surat also had runway overrun during landing at Surat on the same day.

“Both these occurrences have been classified as serious incidents by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) and are being investigated under Rule 11(1) of the Aircraft (Accident and Incident Investigation) Rules 2017,” the Ministry said.

The Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) has been urging the government to extend the runway from the present 2,450 metres to 3,050 metres to enable wide-bodied aircraft to operate from Mangaluru.

Sources in the Airports Authority of India (AAI) told The Hindu that except for the proposal of widening the basic strip of the runway at the airport there is no proposal before it now to expand 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.

The AAI has sought 33 acres from the State government for it. The land has not yet been handed over to the AAI.

Sources said that if wide-bodied aircraft are to operated from Mangaluru there has to be enough passenger traffic to other international destinations other than West Asian countries.

Now the passenger traffic from Mangaluru is concentrated only to and from West Asia. Expanding the runway will be useful only if there is enough passenger and goods traffic to worldwide destinations like in Bengaluru.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 6:43:02 PM |

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