An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: It certainly has been a tragic incident and many Indian expatriates based in the UAE will mourn the loss of their dear ones in Saturday's plane crash in Mangalore, India.

Each and everytime I have taken a flight to Mangalore it has always been a fearful experience when the aircraft approached the runway and eventually when landing.

For the Bajpe Airport is like a table-top on the hills and one can feel the aircraft straining to ensure it does not overrun the short runway and fall into the adjoining ravines as the airport is situated in a hilly part of this south Indian city.

In fact a few years ago the airport runway was upgraded, made bigger and after a relentless pursuit by a few Karnataka Sangha associations based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Mangalore was connected to the UAE directly by air.

Over the last few years the air traffic to this port city has increased tremendously with the road connections through the hills between Mangalore and Bangalore, the state capital always in poor condition due to the wet weather conditions during the monsoon.

With Mangalore close to a few towns in Kerala, many from the neighbouring state also frequently fly into Mangalore.

In fact every time I have landed at the Mangalore airport, thoughts of the pilot over-running the runway have always crossed my mind.

Among friends we have discussed this many times and had always felt that the pilots needed to be perfect in timing their landing on the runway to ensure they have the distance to slow-down and then turn. The turning used to be always at the edge of the runway and one could always see the deep ravines just a few metres away.

Might take a few months to figure out what exactly caused the crash of the Air India Express flight from Dubai to Mangalore today but to me, perhaps it has always been a fearful few minutes until the running flight grounded to a halt.