Exclusive: Separate arrival, departure halls, new conveyer belts soon - Mangaluru Airport director

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (ANK)

Mangaluru, Apr 19: J T Radhakrishna has been serving as the director of Mangaluru International Airport since November 2012. Hailing from Ananthpura, Andhra Pradesh, Radhakrishna joined Indian aviation in 1993 as manager of engineering department. He is the winner of Best Engineer Award for successful planning and implementation of the new terminal at Mangaluru airport in 2010. He has also served in Calicut and Coimbatore airports.

Radhakrishna spoke in an exclusive interview to daijiworld editor-in-chief Walter Nandalike on Daijiworld 24x7 channel's 'Public Challenge' programme.


Q: We have been witnessing a significant increase in passenger inflow every year at Mangaluru airport. But, there has been an increase of only five per cent this year. What is the reason for decline in passengers?

A: A few of the flights have been cancelled this year. Bengaluru runway which is not in operation from the past three months has led to cancellation of flights. Two flights of Air India were affected as only one runway was operational.

While the inflow of passengers was 16.75 lac last year, it was 17.5 lac this year. The figure will grow and I am confident that it will cross 20 lac.

Q: Being the director of an airport is a huge responsibility. The director is blamed if anything goes wrong even in customs or immigration. Mangaluru airport stands 12th in the country in passenger inflow. A lot of negative comments are being heard about Mangaluru airport. What exactly is going on?

A: There are allegations of immigration officers harassing the passengers. Problems are being experienced in cases of NCR, NCER, ECR passports and date changes in visas. There are certain restrictions for passengers travelling with ECR passports. Problems occur when there are no proper documents with the passengers. Otherwise, there is no problem at Mangaluru airport.

Even if there are a few cases, it does not mean that the entire blame has to be put on the airport. There are no such serious problems regarding harassment of passengers. There are only a few minor issues with one or two passengers in relation to documentation and tampering of passport.

Q: There is an allegation that the passengers fear customs officers who look each and everyone, at NRI passengers, suspiciously. Someone even complained that officers see every passenger as gold smuggler, is this true ? What is your say on this?

A: The customs commissioner recently notified about the rules and regulations, and restriction on goods for NRIs. Everything is clearly mentioned. You need not fear anyone if you follow the rules and do not indulge in any offense.

Q: Do you think there is a need for improvement in the attitude of customs staff?

A: We have brought a lot of changes in the last two years. The customs staff has been trained on how to behave with passengers. We are looking forward to further improvement in their behavior. Passengers' problems will be brought to the notice of the commissioner and will be redressed at the earliest.

Q: What is your opinion on having a better duty-free shop to attract international passengers?

A: Earlier, the duty-free store was small here. But now we have increased the space. Duty-free shop is set up at departure and arrival area with varieties of goods.

Q: E-visa facilities have been initiated for foreign nationals due to your efforts. But there is no proper lounge for the passengers. There is no business class lounge either. What is your view on this?

A: Yes. There are plans of having a business lounge in Mangaluru airport. Space is the main problem here. The model is ready and will be implemented after consideration.

Q: Indigo Airlines will start operations from May 1 here. Any direct flights from Mangaluru to Gulf countries in future?

A: We had a discussion with officials. They have assured us that 2-3 flights will be made available for Gulf to shortly.

Q: Could you update us on the expansion of the runway?

A: The present runway is 2,450 metres long. We have discussed the master plan of expanding the runway up to 3,400 metres with Airport authority of India. There is a valley which is 60 to 70 meters deep. Now the question is how to execute the expansion plan.

A budget of Rs 1,500 crore is required for the expansion. Consultation work is currently in progress. Parallel taxi track-way work is under progress presently. We have completed the first phase. Another two years and the taxi track-way work will be completed.

Q: What about the demand of passengers for railway and bus facilities?

A: Right now, there is no such proposal from the railway authorities. There is a Konkan railway line nearby which can be explored by the government to link the city to the airport through railways. Regarding bus facility, we have approached KSRTC. The discussions are on.

Q. There was clash between local taxi drivers and app-based taxis on operating at the airport. Has this issue been resolved?

A. This problem is there at all airports all over India, not only in Mangaluru. We have issued licences to local taxi services and collect fees from them. This has been the practice from many years. So now it (app-based taxi service) is creating problems for them. App-based taxis can drop passengers at the airport, but there are issues with pick-up.

Q: What is the inflow of cargo at Mangaluru airport?

A: There is a lot of movement of domestic and international cargo here. As much as 100 tons of international cargo is being handled every month. Fruits, vegetables and electronic goods are being exported. Domestic cargo is going well touching up to 400 tons. The operations of Indigo Arlines might double the movement of cargo.

Q: What are the plans for further development of Mangaluru airport?

A: The construction of parallel taxi track-way is currently under construction. The widening of the strip close to the runway is also on. We have requested for a 30-acre land from the state government. If the land is alloted, it will be best for the safety of the flight.

We have a parking space for six flights at present. Construction of parking space for two more flights is also on which will be commissioned shortly. There are plans for making space for another four flights.

As of now, there are two passenger boarding aerobridges. By December, we will complete another two, which will be helpful to international fliers. There will be expansion of terminal building for which Airport Authority of India has approved Rs 132 crore. Tender will be invited from May end, work will start by October. Within the next few months we will have seperate arrival and departure halls. Departure hall will be downstairs, so passengers can directly have access to the parking space. Current parking congestion will also be solved.

Currently we have only one conveyer belt, soon, two new conveyer belts will be provided.

Q: You took over as the director of the airport after an unfortunate incident which was the air-crash. There were numerous challenges before you. How did you handle the pressure?

A: We need to keep performing and live up to the expectations of people. We redress the grievances of passengers on priority. Confidence of people in us gives us satisfaction.

Q: How is the response of people on Twitter and Facebook page which you introduced recently?

A: People appreciate us and even criticise if necessary. I convey important instructions to the officers who sincerely follow it. We are giving our best to maintain the reputation of the airport. There should not be any lapse on the officers' part. We want to carry forward the legacy of this airport.

(Twitter handle : @aaimlrairport)

Q: Any message for domestic and international passengers who are using this airport?

A: Mangaluru airport is one of the best airports in the country. Passengers who face problems should bring it to our notice. We are here to help them. Passengers can even contact us through twitter and facebook. Do not lend your ears to rumors. There is 'Air Seva App' too which was introduced by the government for redressing public grievance.

Watch complete interview with airport director:


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Comment on this article

  • Rob Stan, Udupi / US

    Mon, Apr 24 2017

    The reason for having Terminal 2 at Udupi & not airport is that there are so many airports within a short distance even though they are in different states. So many students of many parts of India study at Udupi & Mangalore & they have to travel all the way up to Bangalore to get a direct flight. I had met a student from Calcutta who studies in Manipal, while I was on the way to catch my flight in Bangalore. The flight itself is around 2-3 hours duration and he had to spend around 12 hours by road and then waiting time at the Bangalore airport. So the students can save a lot of time by having Terminal 2 at Udupi & there are lots of buses running between Manipal/Bhatkal/Kundapur to Mangalore. So most of the travelers & people going to airport with less luggage would use the metro. This would also help the people visiting MRPL, MCF, UPCL & other industries and would improve tourism in and around Udupi & Mangalore.

    DisAgree [1] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Ifthikhar, Mangalore / KSA

    Mon, Apr 24 2017

    @Rob Stan, Udupi / US
    There is a land near Kanchinadka; Padubidri which was the planned place for this airport. AAI has to aquire this land and build the 2nd terminal there. In my opinion Bajpe airport can not fully developed to the international standard due to its location and narrow access roads.

    Other problem in the Managalore airport is they should see that local are employed the most. At least the staff who deal with the passengers should be able to speak Kannada and Tulu.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • joe Gonsalves, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 22 2017

    I have beewn a fgrequent traveller particulalry to United States. It is observed more particulalry at The Mangalore

    I have been a frequent traveler particularly to United States. It is my observation that the baggage from the airplane takes a long time before it comes to customs check. I have no complaints about the customs officers. They are courteous and polite and do no unnecessarily detain people.

    Introducing separate arrival and departure halls will greatly help travelers.

    I have known Mr. Radhakrishnan for several years as an honest and forthright officer. Hope his tenure in Mangalore will long and happy one.

    airport that the baggage of customers take a long time to come on the conveyer belts

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Subhash Chandra, Mangalore UAE

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    One of the main problem every passenger facing is late arrival of baggages on conveyor belt, it takes nearly an hour. If you arrive via Mumbai international airport or Bangalore international airport baggages arrive within 15 mins. Here custom is busy in marking the baggage. Last time my desktop computer monitor was marked as X TV ,it's not a TV it's a monitor..They rescanned my baggage and told me to report custom however custom officer told me by mistake they marked it as tv monitor is allowed no charge for it.

    Kindly request in you to please change the rules regarding this marking system.
    Am planning to arrive next time via Mumbai as I feel myself humiliated and many others facing same kind of problem.

    DisAgree Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • dinesh shetty, Nitte/Dubai

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    First MAQ Mangalore Intl Airport to be scrapped or Handed over to defense services.This location is not ideal for commercial air strips..The Govt should propose a new Airport location Near Padubidri or Mulki . Mr B R Shetty in 90s came up with a proposal for the same, But Mr Veerappa Moily not taken it seriously.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • abdul kader,, Kssaragodu.

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    Do it all within 6 month coz, Kannor airport wl start on September 2017.

    DisAgree Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rob Stan, Udupi / US

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    In my opinion, instead of spending 1500 crore to extend the runway on 50-60 meters deep valley, it is better to construct terminal 2 of MIA & bigger runway 2 close to somewhere around Udupi in places where the real estate prices are cheap and connect both with a metro and extend the same at each terminal up to the city which is Udupi & Mangalore. Metro can be used by regular & airport travelers. This way it would be financially sustainable. This would benefit both Udupi & Mangalore as both have educational institutions, Hospitals, business centers. port, industries etc.,

    DisAgree [2] Agree [11] Reply Report Abuse

  • Aubb, Kuwait

    Fri, Apr 21 2017


    Udupi has been the natural location for both an air port and sea port of global scale, which lost its importance due to strong Mlore lobby.

    Udupi is in a better position now to lobby by itself, given its political, economic growth.

    B. R.Shetty etc. may take a lead too.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Evans Christopher Sumitra, Udupi/ New York, USA.

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    That's a good idea but would take a long time.

    DisAgree Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rob Stan, Udupi / US

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    Now that UDAN has been introduced it might help too to make Terminal 2 at Udupi. It suits very well for second terminal and runway at Udupi as State government would fund and invest most of the infrastructure including metro. For Metro, the distance between Udupi & Mangalore is an issue but I am not sure but why not double the track between Udupi & Mangalore on Konkan railway and use it since in my opinion both Metro and railway are broad-gauge. If not metro tracks can be laid side by side of Konkan railway to avoid land acquisition so as to reduce the overall cost of the project. Even though Kannur Airport is coming up soon it cannot match the industries and institutions which we have at Udupi & Mangalore. We can only compete with Kannur Airport if we have Terminal 2 at Udupi.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • ahmed, mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Entering the Airport.... the staff at the gate removes the ticket before you arrive... so they have already counted minute and half of the time... while you go to drop passenger, on the ramp to the departure level you have the zig zag barriers... you will take about 2 minutes if it is busy.... so that's total of 3 and half minutes... by the time you get to the exit gate it is 2 and half minutes..... that's total of 6 mintues.... the clock at the exit which staff follow at the exit is ahead by 2 mintues. As per the rule if you exit within 7 mintues you are not charged... because of the above reasons. They charge you 50 rupees, which is not right. We need to get a better system. It has happened to me a lot of times.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Haneec, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    First remove illminded customs and immigration staff, otherwise mangalore international airport will be history soon.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [20] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sandeep, Mang

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Please make world class toilets first. If you compare toilets in Delhi and Mumbai airport to mangalore it's like sulab souchalaya. Only 2 toilets are there in departure before emigration and most of the time occupied by airport staff...

    DisAgree Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • R. Lewis, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Apart from all above points there will be more growth in the airport if they recruit at least few staffs who has good conducts/ /kindness/ manners.

    DisAgree Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohit, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Public transport from City to the Airport is in need badly. Taxi fares are too expensive to travel to Airport. KSRTC busses need to be deployed to Airport at regular intervals. Taxi mafia need to be banned at the Airport or else give full access to Uber & Grab cars, which are almost like public transports. After so many years still fail to understand why the public transport systems are not in place to Mangalore Airport from the city. Earlier days, we used to have Air India Coaches to ferry passengers from city to the Airport. That too has stopped now.

    DisAgree Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Amit, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Totally agree with you.

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Udupi

    Fri, Apr 21 2017

    Correctly said. Some online complaint we have to share with aviation ministry or PMO.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Nilesh, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Some of the areas of concerns which needs action:
    Better infra coming to and going from the Airport.
    No proper drop off area. The drop-off area is blocked most of the time due to poor design. The road needs a revamp.
    The waiting area at the arrival should be kept clear for vehicle movement unless there is an alternate proposed.
    The parking areas should have traffic markings so that the driver's park properly within the parking limit assigned. Needs better and clear road marking for easy traffic movement.
    There should be an automated parking card vending machine and a card reader to pay the fees and automatic exit boom gates.
    No cleanliness maintained around the airport. Needs more landscaping to make it appealing.
    The lifts and escalators are poorly maintained. Lift capacity is too congested. No proper initial design.
    The lift on arrival is of lower capacity. Upgrade needed.
    Duty-free is too congested. Looks more like a grocery shop. You need to improve the facility to attract more customers buying from the duty-free shops.
    On arrival, the customs checking area is placed very next to the stairs which make's it so very congested. Another disaster in the design due to the conveyer belt being placed close to this area.
    Luggage trolleys are all over the place near the conveyer belts. Most of them not in the working conditions.
    The airport needs bigger sitting or waiting area so that on arrival the passengers can relax and wait for their baggage's.
    Needs more welcoming airport staff.
    A more welcoming staff uniform which adds to the presentation of the airport.
    Place complain/feedback boxes and ask passengers to give their genuine feedbacks as to improve the airports.
    No priority lines for ladies and children's to get in/out early.

    Few good things about the airport:
    Neat toilets
    Good Security

    DisAgree Agree [21] Reply Report Abuse

  • Radhika, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017


    There are no problems in cities like Chennai, Bangalore between taxi drivers and App based drivers. So kindly do not give excuses like these. Please resolve the problems and help us get better services at the airport.

    DisAgree Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rampa Urf EMI, Moon in Brighton

    Thu, Apr 20 2017


    DisAgree [9] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anil, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    i have noticed there is no airport wi fi available for travelers in Mangalore . I have traveled extensively within India and even airports like Patna have wi fi service to its fliers . Its good if Mangalore Airport authority come up with the same for its users .

    DisAgree [1] Agree [43] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jamal, Mangalore/UAE

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Not sure but BSNL users can access free wifi.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Paul, Mangalore

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    The problems at Mangalore airport.
    1)Scanning machines at dep. need to increased. atleast need to be two Or three. People wait for long "Q"
    2)Even ther CISF guys some dont knw to respect sometimes the just throw the Tray on the table.SOme are harsh .
    Airlines staff specially Jet Airways some have attitude problems.
    AI seems to be improved & also some airport staff of AI
    Customs .There two officers who don't know to respect & one lady.
    Food counters quality has to be improved.
    Yes there is no business class lounge or frequent flyers lounge Holding Paltimun,Gold Or silver Cards.
    Duty free: On arrival; They should keep some offers like how they have in Blore Mumbai ,Delhi airpots. Her ethere is no offers, So peole prefer to bring things from Gulf itself. No much collections, How it is improved then what it was before.But the custom also should encourage to buy liquor..As i wanted to buy a bottle last time. I asked the custom officer .He asked me how many bottles i am carrying from DXB. I said One. He told me to put my baggage in screen .When he came to know i have one botle he said you can buy another one. It was really sad. So didnt buy.For this i had to stay for 45 mins to put my baggae in screen just fior the mistake i asked can i buy a bottle.
    Just expressed my suggestions & the exprience i hgave gone through Mlore airport.
    Overall Manglore is convient but lots of improvement has to be done.

    DisAgree Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jamal, Mangalore/UAE

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Rightly questioned every passenger arriving in Mangalore airport is suspected as smugglers. Secondly proper training is the need of the hour for inefficient custom officers. Thirdly the luggage arrival is very much delayed with only one conveyor belt and without proper space.

    DisAgree Agree [42] Reply Report Abuse

  • Anand, Karkala

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Only 5% increase in Passenger inflow just because everyone who is passing through Mangalore Airport are scared of Customs officers. Those people who are spending most of the years working abroad and when they go back to their respective native places, they have to pay duty on their hard earned money. It may be either in the form of Gold or in kind.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [40] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prashant, Dubai

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    The incident which took place last week in Mangalore Airport - One blue collared labourer has gone through very hard time just because he was taking a Gold chain weighing around 20 grams. Officers have made him to open each and every luggage he was carrying along.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Extension of runway to handle large International Aircraft's is the need of the hour ...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [48] Reply Report Abuse

  • Evans Christopher Sumitra, Udupi/ New York, USA.

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Jossey, you are absolutely right. This will solve many problems.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • emi URS rampa, MOON TO BRIGHTON

    Thu, Apr 20 2017


    DisAgree [5] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Thu, Apr 20 2017

    Mera Mangaluru Badal Raha Hai ...

    DisAgree [1] Agree [4] Report Abuse

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Title: Exclusive: Separate arrival, departure halls, new conveyer belts soon - Mangaluru Airport director

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