Chennai, May 22 (Calcutta Tube) Landing at Mangalore’s ‘table top’ airport surrounded by deep gorges is a thrilling experience but the ‘risky nature’ of the airport runway had made the authorities conduct aircraft landing rehearsals ahead of then president R. Venkataraman’s visit to Mangalore in 1992, an official recalls.
The president visited Mangalore to participate in a function organised by Corporation Bank, which is headquartered there.
‘In 1992, president Venkataraman agreed to visit our bank headquarters in Mangalore. In order to ensure safe landing of the president’s flight, authorities rehearsed twice the aircraft landing before Venkataraman’s actual travel,’ recalled K. Srinivasan, then corporate communication manager and liason officer of the bank.
‘I knew this as I was coordinating with Rashtrapathi Bhavan in connection with the presidential visit to Mangalore – the first visit by an Indian president,’ he said.
The rehearsal affected the schedules of the other flights at Mangalore airport and invited the media’s ire at the time.
‘Landing in Mangalore airport is always a thrilling experience as one can see the ravines out of the window,’ he added.
Corporation Bank was then headed by K.R. Ramamurthy.
At least 158 people were killed Saturday when Air India Express flight 812 flying in from Dubai crashed while landing at Mangalore’s airport and erupted in fire when it overshot the runway and plunged down a cliff.