14 years since Mangaluru air crash: A tragic day in aviation history

News Network
May 22, 2024

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Mangaluru: Fourteen years ago today, on a fateful day in May, the city of Mangaluru was struck by a tragedy that sent ripples of grief and anguish across the nation. This catastrophic event not only shook the aviation industry to its core but also left an indelible scar on the hearts of countless families and the local community.

On May 22, 2010, an Air India Express flight crashed while attempting to land at Mangaluru International Airport, claiming the lives of 158 souls on board. The ill-fated flight, carrying 160 passengers and six crew members, was en route from Dubai to Mangaluru when disaster struck.

As the aircraft approached the runway, it overshot the landing, plunging down a steep hill and bursting into flames upon impact. The horror of the crash sent shockwaves through the nation, as families, friends, and the community were engulfed in mourning for their lost loved ones.

Rescue teams, including firefighters, police personnel, and medical professionals, rushed to the scene, but the inferno and treacherous terrain made their efforts harrowing and heart-wrenchingly difficult. The intense fire consumed the aircraft, leaving little hope for survival.

In the aftermath, investigations revealed a series of devastating errors and misjudgments that led to the tragedy. The airport’s tabletop runway design, with its perilous steep gradient at the end, was a critical factor in the disaster. Analysis of the plane’s black box further unveiled that the chief pilot, Captain Zlatko Glusica, bore significant responsibility. Despite urgent warnings from his co-pilot, First Officer Ahluwalia, Captain Glusica proceeded with the ill-fated landing, sealing the doomed fate of the flight.

Today, as we commemorate this solemn occasion, families and friends of the victims gather to pay their respects at the memorial erected near the crash site. This memorial stands as a poignant reminder of the precious lives lost and the profound grief that lingers. It also underscores the imperative for continued improvements in aviation safety, to prevent such heart-rending tragedies from ever happening again.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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Bengaluru: The ruling Congress in Karnataka has improved its tally by winning nine seats while the BJP and JD(S) combine emerged victorious in 19 constituencies in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP won 17 seats and the JD(S) secured victory in two constituencies.

The BJP, on its own, won 17 seats, making it a happy camper as Karnataka voters continued their trend (since 2004) of giving the saffron party the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the state. The JD(S) won two out of the three seats it contested.

Out of nine seats won by the Congress, five are in Kalyana Karnataka region. Interestingly, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, during Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s first term, the Congress won nine seats while the BJP won 17 and JD(S) two seats.

Congress, which stormed to power with a huge majority in the Assembly polls last year, was bullish on winning more than 10 seats, which it did last in 1999.

“We didn’t get the result we expected. We wanted 15-20 seats. Our calculations went wrong,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said. His deputy DK Shivakumar, who is also Karnataka Congress president, was more candid. “We expected more seats - 14 to 15 - because of the guarantees. We expected more votes for the work we’ve done. That didn’t happen,” he said.

Admittedly, the Congress’ guarantees, around which the party had designed its Lok Sabha poll campaign in Karnataka, failed to yield the desired electoral benefits.

Also, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar faced setbacks as Congress lost Mysore (CM’s native) and Bangalore Rural (where BJP defeated Shivakumar's brother DK Suresh).

But Congress has something to cheer about. Besides winning nine seats, the Congress’ vote share in Karnataka is up from 31.88% to 45.34%.

The result came in handy for the BJP to go after the ruling Congress. “The Siddaramaiah-Shivakumar government was arrogant for having 136 MLAs. People have taught them a lesson. Neither their MLAs nor the guarantees helped Congress,” Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka said.

Faced with an aggressive Congress, the BJP got the help it needed from the JD(S). Going by the result, the BJP-JD(S) alliance worked well on the ground as both parties gave their votes to each other.

The JD(S), struggling for survival after its near-rout in the Assembly polls last year, will view the Lok Sabha result as the battery it needed to recharge. “The result is the people’s reply to those who arrogantly chided JD(S) for having only 19 MLAs,” JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy said.

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News Network
June 12,2024

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Mangaluru: The Air India Express is all set to increase the frequency of its flights from Mangaluru to Abu Dhabi to a daily flight from July 22. 

At present, Air India Express operates four flights in a week to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

This will also result in an uptick in daily flights to Bengaluru to eight, with AIE and IndiGo restarting flights and AIE routing aircraft for enhanced Abu Dhabi operations.

At present, IndiGo and AIE operate a total of five flights daily on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru sector. From July 8, the daily flights on this sector will go up to six, with AIE restarting its second daily flight. 

This number will further increase to seven from July 22, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. AIE will operate this additional flight onwards to Abu Dhabi from Mangaluru.

The Bengaluru-Mangaluru leg will operate purely as a domestic flight, and Abu Dhabi passengers will board at Mangaluru.

From August 1, flights on the Bengaluru-Mangaluru sector will go up to eight on three days in a week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, respectively. AIE will operate the third flight on these days to go with its two daily flights.

IndiGo will operate five daily flights, including the fifth flight which it announced in the summer schedule starting March 31. For operations on this sector that sees high passenger footfalls, AIE uses the Boeing-737 Max and IndiGo uses the Airbus series aircraft.

On the Mumbai-Mangaluru sector, AIE will operate the afternoon flight from July 16 in place of Air India, which will continue to operate the morning flight.

Currently, airlines from Mangaluru International Airport, operate five daily flights to Mumbai and Bengaluru, two daily flights to Chennai and Hyderabad, respectively, one daily flight to Delhi, three weekly flights to Pune and one weekly flight to Tiruchirappalli.

International flights operation includes two daily flights to Dubai by AIE, and four weekly flights by IndiGo, four weekly to Dammam, three weekly to Muscat, two weekly to Doha and Bahrain, and one weekly flight each to Kuwait and Jeddah – all by AIE.

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News Network
June 5,2024

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Riding on the Hindutva wave and replacing sitting MPs with new candidates, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has succeeded in retaining its strongholds in coastal Karnataka — Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha constituencies.

Although the victory margins have decreased in all constituencies, a strong organizational network and the Hindutva factor seem to have helped the BJP overcome anti-incumbency sentiment. All three elected MPs will enter the Lok Sabha for the first time.

The Congress appears to have failed in mobilizing its grassroots volunteers and strengthening its organizational networks in these regions. Even the party's guarantee schemes did not seem to significantly influence the election outcomes.

Dakshina Kannada

In Dakshina Kannada, which faced a notable anti-incumbency sentiment, BJP’s Brijesh Chowta defeated Congress’ Padmaraj R. Poojary. Brijesh’s efforts to placate discontented BJP and RSS workers, his focus on the Hindutva factor, development, and local leaders’ efforts to unite various factions within the BJP contributed to his victory with a margin of 1,49,208 votes. In 2019, the BJP had won by a margin of 2,74,621.

Prime Minister Modi held a roadshow in Mangaluru to bolster support for the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi-Chikmagalur candidates, particularly after dissatisfaction with three-time MP Nalin Kumar Kateel’s unfulfilled promises became apparent.

Udupi-Chikmagalur

In Udupi-Chikmagalur, the BJP responded to the 'Go Back, Shobha' campaign by fielding former minister Kota Srinivas Poojary, who won with a margin of 2,59,175 votes against Congress candidate Jayaprakash Hegde. In 2019, the BJP’s margin was 3,49,599 votes. Poojary’s clean image, emphasis on Hindutva politics, the Modi wave, and support from majority communities were likely key factors in his victory.

The BJP appeared to be more effective than the Congress in strategizing to win over the Billavas and Bunts, two major communities in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi-Chikmagalur constituencies. Modi’s gesture of garlanding the statue of social reformer Narayana Guru, revered by the Billava community in Mangaluru, also resonated with voters.

Uttara Kannada

In Uttara Kannada, BJP’s Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri defeated Congress’ Anjali Nimbalkar by 3,37,428 votes. In 2019, the BJP’s victory margin was 4,79,649 votes. Despite local leaders’ demands to field a younger candidate, the party chose the six-time MLA and former state minister. The Modi appeal and Hindutva politics were significant factors, along with the outsider tag of the Congress candidate.

The Congress had won five out of eight Assembly segments in Uttara Kannada in last year’s elections, indicating potential for a competitive race. However, a rally by Modi in Sirsi shifted the momentum in favor of Kageri, who campaigned heavily on Modi's popularity rather than his own track record.

Public discontent

Udupi-based political analyst Rajaram Tallur noted that the reduced victory margins signal public discontent with the BJP. However, the Congress failed to capitalize on this sentiment due to a lack of charismatic leaders, insufficient organizational efforts, and a defeatist attitude regarding their chances in these seats.

Yellapur-based political analyst Sriranga Katti highlighted that Kageri’s reliance on Modi's appeal rather than his own achievements was a decisive factor in Uttara Kannada.

Overall, the BJP's combination of new candidates, a strong organizational framework, and leveraging the Hindutva narrative helped it retain its coastal Karnataka strongholds, while the Congress struggled to make significant inroads.

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