Aerial view of the passenger terminal
|Owner/Operator||Airports Authority of India|
|Location||Bajpe, Karnataka, India|
|Elevation AMSL||337 ft / 103 m|
Mangaluru Airport (IATA: IXE, ICAO: VOML), also known as the Bajpe airport, is an international airport serving the coastal city of Mangalore, India. It is one of the only two International airports in Karnataka, the other one being Kempegowda International Airport, Bangalore. Several daily flights connect Mangalore with most major cities in southern and western India as well as many major cities in the Middle East. The airport, then the Bajpe Aerodrome, was opened on 25 December 1951 when then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru arrived on a DC-3 Dakota aircraft.
As of 2014[update], Mangaluru Airport has one of highest year-over-year passenger growth rates in India, with a 54 percent growth in international passenger traffic. Even though the primary location of service is Mangalore, this airport also serves many places in Coastal Karnataka and Malnad regions such as Manipal, Udupi, Kundapur, Shimoga, Madikeri, Sakaleshpura, Chikmagalur, Bhatkal and also the northern part of Kerala such as Kasaragod.
The airport is near Bajpe, around 13 km (8.1 mi) northeast of Mangalore city centre. It is on top of a hill, with two tabletop runways (9/27 and 6/24). Only two other airports in India have tabletop runways – Kozhikode and Lengpui. The terminal was very small and had basic facilities; it was renovated in the early 2000s. New seats were added, parking controls were introduced, and additional cafes were opened. The airport was initially used for limited domestic flights, mainly Mumbai and Bangalore.
The operation of international flights started in 2006 with Air India Express flying to Dubai. Mangaluru Airport was a customs airport for six years, from 3 October 2006 to 3 October 2012, before it was granted the status of International Airport.
Until 2005, the small 1,600 m (5,249 ft) runway meant the airport could only handle Boeing 737-400 size aircraft. The longer runway now handles slightly larger aircraft. On 10 January 2006 an Airbus A319 of Kingfisher Airlines was the first aircraft in that class to land on the new runway. On 28 September 2012 an Airbus A310 landed for the first time at Mangalore. It was a charter flight for the Hajj pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Airport has seen double digit growth in passenger traffic after introducing international flights. As of 2014[update], the airport had a growth of 21.51 per cent in passenger handling during 2013–14, with 54 per cent growth in international traffic. It has handled 1,255,000 passengers in 2013–14 against 1,032,000 in 2012–13. The airport is expected to handle 900,000 passengers in 2025.
In 2011–12 the airport had a revenue of ₹ 42.64 crores and an operating profit of ₹ 87.6 million, up from ₹ 8.3 million in 2006–07. In 2012–13 the airport handled a landmark 1.02 million passengers with 11,940 aircraft movements. The revenue for the same period was Rs 506.6 million, and it recorded an operating profit of Rs 164.9 million during 2012–13. In 2013–14 it handled a 1.25 million passengers with revenues of Rs 638.9 million.
The first runway (9/27), 1,615 m (5,299 ft) long, was opened in 1951. It is a tabletop runway, with landing approaches that lead up to the extreme edges of a hillside. The edges of the hill drop into a valley from a height of about 90 m (300 ft) to 9 m (30 ft)) within a short distance of just 500 m (1,600 ft) on the east of the runway and from about 83 m (272 ft) to 25 m (82 ft) on the western side. The runway was not level, with the height varying from 90 m (300 ft) to 83 m (272 ft) from east to west. Landing on this short runway was considered difficult.
Mangaluru Airport was the first airport in Karnataka to have two runways and the first to have a runway made of concrete. The second runway (6/24), 2,450 m (8,038 ft) long, was opened on 10 May 2006. A Jet Airways flight from Bangalore with 95 passengers on board was the first to land on this runway. The airport has acquired land to build a taxiway parallel to the new runway to reduce aircraft on ground time.
Union minister of state for civil aviation Praful Patel announced on 15 May 2010 that a work order for extending the runway to 9,000 feet (2,740 m) would be issued soon. After the crash of Air India Express Flight 812, the minister reaffirmed on 30 May 2010 that the runway extension will take place and will take into account the spillover area required during an emergency.
Safety improvements were implemented after the directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) identified this as one of the 11 airports in India as unsafe. Addition of a runway end safety area, ensuring proper markings on the runway, and proper maintenance of the basic strip were among the improvements.
The road to the new terminal reduces the distance between the city and the airport by about 8 km (5.0 mi). The airport had a trial run of the terminal for domestic flights on 16 December 2009. On 15 May 2010, the terminal building was inaugurated by Civil Aviation Minister, Praful Patel, along with former Chief Minister of Karnataka, B. S. Yeddyurappa. It was to be opened to air traffic on 1 July 2010, but it became operational on 2 August 2010 due to delays caused by the Air India Express Flight 812 accident.
Since 1 September 2010, the airport is charging a user development fee (UDF) of ₹150 (US$2.20) per passenger for domestic flights and ₹825 (US$12) for international flights. This fee was approved by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Air traffic control
The construction of a new air traffic control (ATC) tower was completed in June 2014, and commissioned for one-month trial on 19 January 2015. After the trial period it will be run normally for two more months. DGCA approval will be received based on the results of the trial and normal operations in this period.
On 5 September 2013 the Airports Authority of India commissioned a DGCA approved advanced automated air traffic management system, replacing the older system. The system enhances flight safety by providing flight plans, direction finders, and air-ground-data link messages. This system processes radar feeds from Bangalore, Chennai, and Thiruvananthapuram and displays them at Mangalore.
Since 2011 the old terminal has been used for direct flights to Madinah, Saudi Arabia, for pilgrims undertaking the Hajj. In 2011 and 2012 chartered flights landed at Mangalore International Airport and carried passengers from the old terminal building.
Indian Coast Guard Air Station
The Mangaluru Airport Director announced on 28 January 2016 that the Airports Authority of India have handed over 17,000 sqft of space at the old terminal building to the Indian Coast Guard to set up an air station for its air operations. The ICG has proposed to station two of its Dornier air craft at the air station.
- Addition of two more aerobridges to the terminal building and two parking bays to the apron, extending the parking bays to eight.
- Currently the apron is connected to the edge of runway 06, and aircraft movements on the apron have to be stopped when a plane lands and can only resume when it reaches the apron. A new 2,400-metre taxiway will be built parallel to the runway and join the runway ahead of the landing threshold, enabling aircraft on the apron to move towards the runway and hold, saving 10 to 15 minutes. The construction work on the parallel taxiway started on 1 November 2014, and was slated to be opened on 1 May 2015, however another news report says the project to be completed in February 2016.
- The runway is 2,450 m (8,040 ft). AAI has not yet implemented the recommendation of the 812 crash inquiry committee, which had recommended lengthening the runway. AAI is not ready to invest in the runway expansion; it wants the state government to invest in it, though wide-bodied A310 and new airlines are allowed to operate by the regulatory authorities. User development fees are being charged by the AAI, but it has not started work on the runway lengthening.
- Expansion of the Passenger Terminal to accommodate more passengers. The estimates for the year 2025 made by the AAI while constructing the new passenger terminal were already crossed in 2012. It is expected that the terminal will not be able to accommodate the increasing traffic in the coming years.
- Commencement of wide-body aircraft flights from the airport, under a public-private partnership model, depending on allotment of 1 km2 (247.1 acres) of land from the government.
Airlines and destinations
|Air India Express||Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Kuwait, Muscat|
|IndiGo||Bengaluru, Mumbai (both begin 1 May 2017) |
|Jet Airways||Abu Dhabi, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Dubai–International, Hyderabad (resumes 10 December 2017), Mumbai|
|SpiceJet||Belgaum, Bangalore, Dubai–International, Hyderabad, Mumbai
Presently it ranks 12 in the list of airports with international passenger traffic after Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Cochin, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Kozhikode, Thiruchirapalli international airports. The Airport had 8.91 lakh passengers in the FY 2011-12 and witnessed a growth rate of 5.44%. According to the airport sources it has a target of achieving 16 lac passengers traffic in the FY 2016-17
Air cargo complex
Air cargo complex of the airport was commissioned in the year 2013.
|Cargo Type||Total covered area||Capacity (One time handling capacity)|
|International Cargo||1400 sqm||140 MT|
|Domestic Cargo||1094 sqm||110 MT|
KSRTC (Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation) offers bus service between the airport (from the bottom of the hill) and Central Railway Station. Taxis ply between the airport and the city of Mangalore. Prepaid taxi service is available around the clock at the airport counter in the arrival hall.
Accidents and incidents
Mangaluru Airport is in a region that receives the highest rainfall in India. Minor incidents, especially overshooting the runway during landings, have been reported in the rainy season. This airport was the scene of the third deadliest aviation disaster in India. This incident led to the implementation of major safety improvements at the airport.
Major incidents are listed below.
- On 19 August 1981, Indian Airlines Flight 557, a HAL 748 VT-DXF overshot the 5,783 feet (1,763 m) old runway 27 at Mangalore-Bajpe Airport in wet weather. The aircraft came to a halt just beyond the runway edge. While there were no fatalities, the aircraft was damaged beyond repair and was written off. One of the passengers was Veerappa Moily, then Finance Minister of Karnataka. An investigation revealed that the pilot had not set the aircraft's flaps to the correct position for landing, and the aircraft had landed long on the runway and at excessive speed. The runway had a downslope and the aircraft had landed with a tailwind. The aircraft involved was HAL 748 VT-DXF, with manufacturer's serial number 511; it first flew in 1967.
- On 22 May 2010, Air India Express Flight 812, a Boeing 737-800 VT-AXV, flying on the Dubai-Mangalore route, overshot the 8,033 feet (2,448 m) runway number 06/24, killing 158 people, including 6 crew; only 8 survived. The aircraft crashed when it overshot the runway and veered into a steep gorge at the end of the runway. The starboard wing impacted the concrete socket of the instrument landing system (ILS) localiser antenna, rendering it unusable. This resulted in delayed or cancelled flights for two weeks during the monsoon rains, which reduced visibility. It took the airport a little under a month to repair and calibrate the ILS and bring it back online.
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