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M R Vasudeva -- By Richie Lasrado

Mangalore Airport Expansion: End of Rough Weather and Air Bubbles?

by Richie Lasrado

The talk has been going on for almost two decades. But everything has been moving at a snail's pace. Much water has flowed down Chandragiri, Netravati, Phalguni, Shambhavi, Swarna and Souparnika ever since. Things have stood almost as they were.

With Mangaloreans having conquered every continent and country with their skills and interlligence for decades, we shouldn't have been still left with a mere table-top airport after 50 years of its opening. For long there was a talk of an entirely new airport coming up at Padubidri. That remained still-born.

L to R : Walter Nandalike, M R Vasudeva, Richie Lasrado

Then came the idea of a new runway to be extended towards the western side, which would have gobbled up the entire town of Bajpe. The vested interests stalled it. 

As all this went on at a snail's pace, the Karippur airport in Kozhikode (Calicut) and the Kannur airport came up quietly taking a large chunk of passengers from northern Malabar, for whom Mangalore was a convenient outlet all this while. Our elected representatives spent all their lives pulling each other's legs and in the game of one-upmanship, passing the buck on to each other.

VOR Station (Visual Omnibus Range) near Kaikamba

A good 15 years have been lost in dragging one's feet over various tangles and disputes. But now things are looking up. At the helm of the Mangalore operations of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) now is a man whom we can proudly call our own, for once.

Being a well-travelled person and having worked in different parts of country, occasionally breaking into free Hindi, he can be taken for a 'northerner' at the very first encounter. But MARPALLI RAMAYYA VASUDEVA, originally hailing from Udupi, makes us feel comfortable with a typical 'DK-style' hospitality. He has a single-minded mission of seeing the dream of a modern airport in Mangalore realized as soon as possible.

He needs everyone's support. It is not one man's dream. It is the dream of the entire undivided Dakshina Kannada's populace, one that would win support from a lot of our brethren from Kasaragod in the south and even Bhatkal in the north.

In an exclusive interview given to, M R Vasudeva, throws light on some interesting, but quite a few so far unknown, matters regarding the expansion project. 

Model of proposed new run-way at Mangalore Airport

"Efforts are needed from all directions. Everyone has to work for it. It is for everyone's benefit....." says Airport Director M R Vasudeva about airport upgradation, speaking exclusively to Richie Lasrado, Resident Editor of

In which year was it opened and who was the main person to have worked for it?

The airport was opened in 1951. The late MP Ullal Srinivas Mallya was the main person who was responsible for the setting up of the airport.

Can you please give us a brief on and the history of the Mangalore airport?

It started as the Bajpe aerodrome in 1951. The late prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru is said to have arrived by the maiden flight to Mangalore. Initially only Dakota aircraft landed here. Later on Fokker and Avro began to operate. From 1983 onwards Boeings began landing here. 


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