Mangalore (Karnataka), May 22 (Calcutta Tube) Flying into Mangalore has always been considered difficult because the airport is on the top of a hill and surrounded by deep gorges that are just 30 metres from the runway.
The airport is at Bajpe, about 20 km from Mangalore and 350 km from the state capital Bangalore. The runway is called the table top because of the deep gorges surrounding it.
Ironically, the new terminal building was inaugurated only May 15 by union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.
The Mangalore airport is considered one of the most difficult ports to land and take off from, particularly in the rainy season. It has been raining heavily in the area, an impact of cyclone Laila.
It is not clear whether the Air India Express, which caught fire Saturday, landed at the old runway, about 1.6 km in length, or the new 2.6 km runway that became operational in 2006.
Mangalore is a busy commercial and education centre on the west coast. It has a mixed population of Hindus, Christians and Muslims and four languages – Kannada, Tulu, Konkani, Urdu – are spoken. It has a busy port, the New Mangalore Port.
It has been in the news for wrong reasons in the last few years because of increasing communal tension. The most infamous incident was that of young girls being attacked by self-appointed protectors of Hindutva at a pub in Mangalore in January 2009.