Mangaluru Jan 4: The New Year hasn’t brought good tidings for airlines operating from Mangaluru International Airport. From December 31, the runway length has been reduced by 120 metres. The development comes months after the Airport Authority of India decided to postpone the Airport’s runway expansion plan.
It means that of the 2,450m of runway available, only 2,330m will be available for safety purposes. It will not affect passengers per se, but there will be a load penalty on airlines, especially international airlines carrying cargo, which will have to be reduced.
Airport authorities have alerted pilots about the shortened runway due to insufficient Runway End Safety Areas (RESA) at both ends.
Airports Authority of India (AAI) resorted to this move since the Runway End Safety Area (RESA) at both ends of the runway was found to be insufficient. RESA is the surface surrounding the runway prepared to limit the damage when airplanes overshoot the landing/take-off area.
MIA Director V V Rao confirmed that the AAI has issued a notice in this regard. He said it was a temporary issue. The airport, he explained, would require about three acres of land to extend the runway (back to 2,450 metres). Once the state government allots the land, the runway would be extended.
However, the reduction in runway length will not affect any passenger aircraft landing at the airport. "This is not only for MIA. Such notices have been issued to Kozhikode and Kannur airports too," Rao said.
Sources maintained that the move will not affect passengers. But there will be a load penalty on airlines, especially international airlines carrying cargo, which will have to be reduced. The MIA has been airlifting about 50 tonnes of daily essentials every month, which contain 30 types of vegetables and five types of fruits to West Asia.
MIA Manager (Cargo) K A Sreenivasan said that the cargo aircraft will not be affected by the runway reduction. On cargo tonnage, he said 1,699 tonnes of international cargo was exported from MIA in 2017 as against 867 tonnes in 2016. Similarly, 2,584 tonnes of domestic cargo was flown from MIA in 2017 as against 3,721 tonnes in 2016.
The AAI has also declared MIA as a silent airport from January 2. Accordingly, all public announcements by airlines have been stopped since Tuesday.
Instead, passengers could access flight information through display boards, SMSes and hands on assistance from airlines concerned. The needs of 'Divyang' passengers finding it tough to get flight information, will be taken care of, the airport director said.
Forget expansion, Mangaluru airport’s runway length now cut by 120 metres