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New ATC in M'lore airport will be ready by May: Director

Mangalore, Oct 11, 2012, DHNS:

The tower will give a bird's eye view of the entire airport

Mangalore Airport Director M R Vasudeva said that the new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower and technical block of the airport will be ready by May 2013.

Speaking at an interaction programme organised by the Dakshina Kannada district Working Journalists Association and Mangalore Press Club here on Thursday, he said with a view to enhancing the safety of Mangalore airport and also bringing different air control units under one roof, the Airports Authority of India has gone in for a new air traffic control (ATC) tower and technical block.

The cost of the entire project is Rs 19 crore. It will house air traffic control, control tower, radar unit and communication unit under one roof.

The 24 metre height tower will give a bird's eye view of the entire airport as in other major airports.

Few more airlines

With Mangalore airport getting international status, a few airlines have shown keen interest to operate from Mangalore to Gulf countries. Air Arabia, Etihad and Emirates Airlines have shown interest. Once they get approval, they will start flying. There will be surge in the passenger traffic by March 2013.

Similarly, Jet airways will operate another flight to Mumbai from October 28. The flight will leave Mumbai at 6.30 am and reach Mangalore at 8 am and leave Mangalore at 8.30 am and reach Mumbai at 10 am. Spicejet will restart its service to Bangalore from Mangalore, he said

Passenger traffic

The Director said that passenger handling at Mangalore airport witnessed four time growth since 2002. The airport was handling 2.77 lakh passengers in 2002 which has increased to 9.30 lakh passengers in 2012. He attributed this growth to Mangalore's connectivity with more locations.

Mangalore airport is now directly connected with locations such as Hyderabad and Chennai. International operations from Mangalore airport began in October 2006. The Indian population in West Asia accounts for more than one-fourth to the total passenger handling at the airport.

Mangalore airport recorded an operating profit of Rs 9.5 crore for 2011-12. The airport, which suffered a loss of Rs 2.5 crore during 2002-03, has seen a significant growth in traffic and revenue in the recent years. “We are expecting operating profit of Rs 12.5 crore during 2012-13,” he said.

Airport is safe

Stating that Mangalore airport is safe, Vasudeva said that Mangalore Airport currently has all facilities of an international airport. He said if there were plans to introduce larger aircraft, then the runway at the airport had to be extended. Otherwise, the airport was well-equipped and there was no compromise on safety.

Air cargo complex

The air cargo complex is awaiting approval from the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC). The cargo air cargo complex is ready at old terminal. AAI would be the custodian of cargo to be handled at the airport. Once the air cargo complex starts the service, the airport will develop further.

Unique facilities

The airport director said that Mangalore airport has area control service facility, which the airports in Kochi and Kozhikode do not have. In fact, this facility is used by the pilots to land and take off in Kochi and Kozhikode. Sitting in Mangalore, the officials can give directions to the pilots to land from 35,000 feet above the ground level to 15,000 feet. From 15,000 feet, it is the respective airport officials who give the directions, he added.

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