The Mangalore airport, where 160 people were killed Saturday morning when an Air India Express flying from Dubai overshot the runway during landing, is considered difficult for aircraft landings and take offs, particularly in the rainy season.
It has been raining heavily in the area, an impact of cyclone Laila.
The airport is located on top of a hill and surrounded by deep gorges that are just 30 metres from the runway. There are tropical forests on the three sides of the mountain.
The airport is at Bajpe, about 20 km from Mangalore and 350 km from Bangalore. The runway is called "table top" because of the gorges surrounding it. There are two runways at the airport. The old runway is 6,000 ft long while the new one is 8,000 ft.
The new terminal building was inaugurated recently, on May 15, by Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.
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 who speak Kannada, Tulu, Konkani and Urdu. The New Mangalore Port is located here.
The city has been in news for all the wrong reasons due to 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.
(With input from IANS)