Jan 31, 2010
It is generally said that comparisons are odious. Nevertheless situations call for such comparisons especially when undue delay and apathy nullifies the efforts and progress made by a predecessor and the successors fails to carry on the same tempo of progress. The fate of the new airport terminal at Bajpe Airport which awaits inauguration for quite some time now, is the situation referred to here that necessitates the comparison. When M R Vasudeva was the Airport Director tremendous headway was made as far as converting the tiny Mangalore Airport into that of an International standard one.
Present Airport Director Peter Abraham
Ever since his promotion transfer to Coimbotore in April last year there has been a change of guard at the helm too often and one is bound to remember and compare his services with the present people at the top and one need not say the result has not particularly pleasing. In the last 8 months there have been four Airport Directors. M R Vasudeva B R Sena, V N Chandran and present Director Peter Abraham have been Airport Directors in the short span of 8 months. Peter Abraham assumed charge from V N Chandran in the last week of December 2009. Going by the trend one wonders how many more Directors and changes are in the offing before the new terminal sees the light of the day which is not too far if the airport authorities are to be taken on their face value.
Inauguration of new terminal in March?
With the tentative dates given for its inauguration of the new terminal getting postponed for reasons best known to the Airport Authorities both in Mangalore and Delhi, scores of people who have been fervently waiting for the new terminal to become operational, are getting impatient and are crestfallen.
According to the Peter Abraham K, the new Airport Director the new terminal will be inaugurated in March this year. However, he refused to divulge any more information including any further details on the eagerly awaiting direct flights to Saudi about which scores of people are keen to know. When daijiworld contacted him to elicit more information he could only say that 99% of the work at the terminal is complete and the remaining work would be completed by February and terminal would inaugurated in March this year. “The date of the VIP is awaited and the matter is handled by the Airport Authority of India. Mangalore Airport cannot do much about it”, he stated.
When asked whether there were any bottlenecks with regard to the new terminal to become operational he said “our work is in the finishing stage. There is no problem with the approach road to the new terminal either. We are giving a final touch to the passing facilities which are expected to be ready by February this year”.
He also evaded an answer when asked whether the terminal would become operational in the event of the formal inauguration gets postponed beyond March. With regard to direct flights from Mangalroe to Saudi he said “we are not going to start any flights as of now. It all depends on the airlines which should come forward with the proposal and the final decision will be taken at our headquarters”. In fact he was getting vexed at any query relating to the inauguration of the new terminal or about the new flights from Mangalore airport. It gave an impression as though he is yet to get acquainted with the set up and the situation here, which is indeed not expected from a person holding such an eminent post especially when Mangalore airport all set to attain international airport status. The only course left now is to hope against hope that it will be inaugurated and becomes operational by March this year. Many Mangaloreans had premonition about the things to come by and it was precisely for this reason they were saying Vasudeva should have been brought back to oversee the inauguration of the new terminal.
Saudi Flights – a non starter
Mangaloreans settled in Saudi Arabia have been fancying the idea of flying directly to Mangalore from Saudi for almost three years hoping it is only a matter of time before their long cherished dreams become a reality. They had collected signatures and had even submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and continued their efforts in this direction. Since then there has been enormous changes and Air India Express has introduced direct flights to six gulf countries including Kuwait, Dubai, Bahrain, Doha, Muscat and Abu Dabhi. Hopes were raised for Saudi also as Air India gave a proposal to their headquarters to start direct flights. Station Manager of Air India Chellam Prasad confirmed it saying “we have given the proposal to the headquarters sometime ago and are waiting for the approval”. The present Airport Director has now stated they are not going to start any direct flights to Saudi. According to reliable source there has been no response from the Civil Aviation Ministry for the proposal.
There seems to be an orchestrated move to sideline the country’s national career and make way for private operators to make merry at the cost of the national airlines. Within the country too the national airlines has been made to bear the brunt of efforts to systematically chuck out the national airlines. According to reliable sources some flights of national airlines which were going to full strength in Mumbai and Bangalore have been stopped and given to private operators. According to reliable sources the flights to gulf countries will also be slowly handed over to the private operators who are keen to grab the opportunity. That includes flights to Saudi Arabia also and the private operators already tom-tom about this move of the Ministry. An Air India employee said on condition of anonymity that Civil Aviation Ministry is poisoning the national airlines to death and slowly the vast assets of the national airlines will also be handed over to the leading private operators. It is said that it is this move that delays the introduction of direct flights to Saudi Arabia from Mangalore.
National airlines are the pride of any country and this move to poison it to death will only give an upper hand to private operators who will then have a free hand to enhance the fair according to their whims and fancy.
One can only hope good sense prevails and such nefarious moves of the ministry are thwarted. Let us hope the long awaited of Mangaloreans in Saudi will see the light of the day soon. But first let us wait for the new terminal to become operational which, hopefully, will come about in March this year as promised.
New Terminal - Daijiworld Follow-up:
Mangalore: Successful Trial Run at New Terminal of Bajpe Airport
Mangalore : New Terminal Waiting for Prime Minister's Date
Mangalore: Inauguration of New Terminal in December - Moily
Mangalore: It’s Smooth Ride to Airport Down the Road Come September
Mangalore Airport New Terminal - Final Countdown Begins...
Mangalore Airport New Terminal - Racing Against Time
Mangalore Airport - Ready for Another Milestone
Progress & Process: Have a Look at New Terminal of Mangalore Airport