After 158 people were killed when an Air India Express flight from Dubai crash-landed in Mangaluru airport on May 22, 2010, the authories were jolted into enforcing several measures to improve the safety of aircraft operations.

The airport has two runways, which are designated as runway 24/06 and runway 27/09, respectively.

Recently, work began on the installation of a precision approach lighting (category 1) system at the airport. Likely to be ready in 20 months, this system will offer pilots better visibility of runway 24/06 and guidance for their landing approach. It will be installed 900 m from the threshold of the runway.

The precision approach lights will be mounted on about 18 lattice structures.

To improve the visibility of the runway, the airport has also installed centre-line lights. These inset lights will complement the existing runway edge lights and runway threshold lights.

A media statement from airport authorities said work on the centre-line lights has been completed and they will be commissioned after a go-ahead from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.

Based on the compliance norms laid down by the aviation safety regulator, Mangaluru airport had re-carpeted runway 24/06 on May 28, 2023. The re-carpeting involves a flexible overlay of asphalt on the rigid runway.

Welcoming the safety measures undertaken at Mangaluru airport, Ananthesh Prabhu, president of industry body KCCI, says the civil aviation ministry wants to assure travellers that, despite the past incidents of crash-landing, the table-top airports at Mangaluru and Kozhikode are safe. 

There are other airports in the world that are more dangerous than table-top airports, he argues.

Vathika Pai, Head (Operations), Nirmala Travels, says the safety measures introduced by the airport will help attract both new and returning passengers.

The adherence to international safety standards and regulations boosts the airport’s image and stakeholders’ trust, and, in turn, will prove helpful in attracting more international airlines and passengers, she adds.