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Mangalore: The long- awaited dream of the Mangloreans has finally come true when the Mangalore airport was officially given the international status on Thursday, after 61 long years.
The announcement in this regard was made by union finance minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi following a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
Addressing a gathering at a meeting at the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Mangalore on Thursday, the Director of the airport M. R. Vasudeva said that the Cabinet had also approved the international status for airports at Lucknow, Varanasi, Trichy and Coimbatore.
-I am very today, it was my dream to see the Mangalore Airport get international status,- said Mr.Vasudeva, who will retire this month end, said. He said that the airport handled 9.29 lakh passengers from July, 2011 to June, 2012 although it was projected to handle 9 lakh passengers in 2025.
Established in 1951, Mangalore Airport is currently a domestic customs airport with permission to operate only a few international flights to west Asia including Dubai, Doha, Muscat and Kuwait.
Currently, the airport connects domestic destinations - Calicut, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai.
Conversion of a domestic airport into an international airport means creation of more standardized immigration facilities. The international tag would also mean that the airport would be open to foreign airlines and more facilities would be available to the passengers.
With the declaration of international airport, more international flights can fly out and fly in from Mangalore airport, Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily told reporters.