Mangaluru airport takes up massive upgradation of safety, landing facilities

Source: The Hindu | Published on 9th August 2020, 12:25 PM | Coastal News |

Mangaluru: Mangaluru International Airport, one of the important airports along the West coast of India, has taken up several works related to upgradation of safety and landing facilities in the last 10 years.

Isaac Vas, President of Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), told Business Line that the 2010 air crash at Manaluru was due to pilot error. There was nothing to do with geography.

“Our constant representations to AAI have helped in massive upgradation of safety and landing facilities at the airport. Mangaluru airport is one of the safest airports in the country,” he said, adding that AAI had further enhanced many safety standards at the airport post-accident 10 years ago.

It may be mentioned here that the Court of Inquiry, which was constituted to probe into the accident, had given recommendations to different stakeholders in the aviation sector, including Airports Authority of India.

Stating that the recommendations of the Court of Inquiry have been implemented, VV Rao, Director of Mangaluru International Airport, told reporters that all safety measures have been taken care at the airport and safety management system is also in place. Several navigational aids have been changed with the latest one.

MR Vasudeva, former director of Mangaluru International Airport, who worked in Mangaluru airport from July 2010 to October 2012 (till his retirement), told BusinessLine that he had implemented a majority of the recommendations of the Court of Inquiry during his tenure in Mangaluru.

Court of Inquiry, headed by BN Gokhale, former Vice-Chief of Air Staff, Indian Air Force, had recommended the need for the improvement of RESA (runway-end safety area) at Mangaluru airport. Vasudeva said RESA of 240 metres have been provided on both the sides at Mangaluru. (RESA is the the surface surrounding the runway suitable for reducing the risk of damage to airplanes in the event of an undershoot or overshoot)

Vas said the provision of 240 metres x 90 metres of RESA on both ends of runway is more than the mandatory requirement of 90 metres x 90 metres.

Apart from this, zero slope with sand bed has been provided on RESA surface to de-accelerate overshooting aircrafts, he said.

The Court of Inquiry had stated that the ILS (instrument landing system) localiser antenna was mounted on a concrete structure at Mangaluru above the runway safety area.

Vasudeva said the airport had embedded localisers in the earth as recommended in the report.

He said the airport had also installed DTGM (distance to go marker) on runway shoulders as recommended by the Court of Inquiry. The Court of Inquiry had felt that the use of DTGM could help the pilots to ascertain critical distances as it acts as a visual reference to ascertain the remaining distance.

The Court of Inquiry had noted that most of the accidents occur during the landing and take-off phases with large number of runway excursions, and felt the need to build adequate access roads outside the perimeter of the airport. This recommendation was implemented in coordination with the state government.

Vas said that the runway side safety basic strip width has been increased from 75 metres to 150 metres on a length of 1,440 metres on south side of runway. For remaining portion, AAI has asked the State government to hand over land.

On north side of runway, the work of entire length for widening of runway side basic strip has been taken up. Out of 2450 metres, work has been already completed in 1500 metres. Work is in progress in the remaining portion, he said.

AAI also constructed and commissioned a new ATC control tower with a commanding view of the runway, Vas added.

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