The Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal to declare Mangalore as an international airport. The approval comes exactly six years after the airport began international operations.

It was on October 3, 2006, the first Air India Express flight from Dubai landed in Mangalore airport, marking the beginning of its international operations.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting to promote air cargo complex in Mangalore, organised by Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), M.R. Vasudeva, Airport Director, Mangalore, said that the Union Cabinet gave its approval to upgrading customs aerodrome in Mangalore to the status of international airport on Thursday.

Mangalore airport was declared customs aerodrome on May 3, 2006. He hoped that the international status to Mangalore will help it attract more airlines. At present, Air India Express connects Mangalore with destinations in West Asia such as Abu Dhabi Muscat, Dubai, Kuwait, Doha and Qatar.

Addressing the KCCI members earlier, D. Purushottam, Commissioner of Customs, Mangalore, said he was pursuing the proposal of the trade and commerce bodies to set up an air cargo complex in Mangalore at the highest level.

Mohammed Ameen, president of KCCI, said the Chamber has been demanding an air cargo complex in Mangalore since 1998. The AAI has set up necessary infrastructure for this, he said.

At present, export-import trade is using Bangalore, Mumbai and Kozhikode airports for their needs. This causes undue delay in hauling cargo to those airports, and perishable cargoes get damaged, he added.

vinayak.aj@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 4, 2012)
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