Passenger growth unaffected at Mangalore airport

A. J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on May 22, 2011 Published on May 21, 2011

Charred remains of the Air India Express which crashed at the Mangalore airport on May 22, 2010.

The air crash at Mangalore airport on May 22 last year seems to have made little impact on the passenger handling at the airport. Still, international passengers contribute more than one-fourth to the total passenger handling at the airport.

Mr M. R.Vasudeva, Director of Mangalore Airport, Airports Authority of India, told Business Line that the airport handled 8.27 lakh passengers in 2010-11 against 7.86 lakh passengers in 2009-10, recording a growth of 5.21 per cent.

Mr G.G. Mohandas Prabhu, President of the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), said the air crash has not made any impact on the passenger handling at the airport. “From the day one everyone knew that the pilot error was the reason for the air crash. The report by the Court of Inquiry into the air crash also mentions about it,” he said, adding that the passenger traffic has grown in 2010-11.

It is to be noted here that the share of international passengers to the total passengers stood at 28.65 per cent from May 2010-April 2011. However, the number international passengers came down by 10,000, while that of domestic passengers went up by 35,000 during the period.

During the above-mentioned period, the Kuwait-Mangalore flight was discontinued for about two months. That could be one of the reasons for this drop, said a source in Air India Express.

Expressing optimism over the future of passenger traffic at the airport, Mr Prabhu said a private airliner is likely to operate between Mangalore and Mumbai from July.

“So we will have more connectivity to Mumbai,” he said.

The international traffic will witness tremendous growth if the Government declares it as an international airport. “Even if a weekly flight to Singapore or Colombo from Mangalore is operated, then I am very certain that the international passenger traffic will grow tremendously,” he said.

The international operations from Mangalore airport began on October 3, 2006, with a maiden flight from Dubai landing at Mangalore.

Stating that the crash did not have impact on the arrival and departure of people from Gulf to Mangalore and vice-versa, Mr Rajesh Sequera, Coordinator of Karnataka NRI Forum at Abu Dhabi, said the operation of direct flight service between the Gulf destinations and Mangalore in the past four years has helped people reduce their travel time and cost of travel. “People prefer to use direct flights between these destinations than changing flights,” he said.

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Published on May 21, 2011
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