Aug 5, 2014, 07.30 PM IST

MANGALORE: Mangalore City South MLA J R Lobo and minister for haj, information and infrastructure development Roshan Baig met Air India CMD Rohit Nandan and union minister of state for civil aviation G M Siddeshwar separately urging them to restart direct flight from Kuwait-Mangalore. Direct flights to Kuwait from here have remained suspended since last 6 months and there is growing local pressure to resume the same.

Lobo incidentally had brought the same matter to notice of the state government in previous assembly session of Belgaum held during November/December and the government had replied on the floor that since the matter was connected to the union government, it will be brought to notice of civil aviation ministry. However, with no concrete action taken on the issue till date, Lobo with Baig met Rohit and Siddeshwar at Delhi on Tuesday.

Lobo urged both the CMD and the minister to restart the suspended flights from Mangalore to Kuwait directly. Both Rohith and Siddeshwar promised to look into this seriously and assured that the action will be initiated to redress the long pending grievances of NRIs residing in Kuwait. Besides, Lobo and Baig informed Siddeshwar on the need to extend the existing new runway at Mangalore international airport by another 950 metres.

Mangalore is the second international airport in Karnataka whereas neighbouring Kerala already has three international airports and they are now developing the fourth one at Kannur. If runway at the international airport here is not extended, wide bodied aircrafts cannot land at MIA which will hinder cargo exports and the airport also may lose the international status due to lower growth in traffic as well as revenue accruals from cargo business.

Next to Bangalore, Mangalore is the only airport in Karnataka which has all the potential to grow and become major destination for industrial, educational and tourism growth. Roshan Baig also insisted that Mangalore should be given all attention and stated that Karnataka government will give all support to union government to develop Mangalore airport. Siddeshwar said the project requires an investment of more than Rs 1,100 crores.

Observing that this will require the public-private-partnership model as it was done in Kochi, Siddeshwar said the ministry will take up this issue seriously. Roshan Baig suggested that if civil aviation ministry comes with a proper plan, this can be proposed in the forthcoming global investors meet that the state government is contemplating to hold. Existing new runway is 2450 metres (8000 ft) with plans to extend it to 3,400 metres (11,400 ft).

Courtesy: Times of India