belagavi news


Sambra airport was commissioned in 1942 by RAF

Photo of author

First published Feb 22, 2010

Let’s see at its glorifying history. 

1942- The Royal Air Force (RAF) established its base at Sambra
1947- Indian Airlines commenced its operations from here
1989- Private airline operators are given permission
1989-93- Vayudoot Private carrier flew from here
1993-95- East-West Airways Also took off from here
1994-96- NEPC Commenced its operations
1997-98- Span Airways
1998-99- Gujrat Airways
2003-09- Air Deccan (Kingfisher Red)

Night landing facility available with PAPI lights and Doppler VOR The runway is now extended to 2300 meters(earlier 1432 meters in length) and 43 meter wide


The Sambra airport dates back to 1942 when it was under the Patwardhan Sarkar of Sangli. The Patwardhan Sarkar gave permission for establishing the airbase at Sambra to the Royal Air Force (RAF) in late 1942.


In 1947 Belgaum was a sole city with an airport. In 1986 the airports were privatized and then later given over to the Airports Authority of India. Indian Airlines had regular service from here but in the late 1980’s it got discontinued and in 1989 private players like Vayudoot started operations with the Belgaum – Mumbai, and Belgaum- Bangalore services.

1993-95 East-west airlines flew from here and in 1994 NEPC also started operations. In 1997-98 Span Airways had its operations from here. In 1998 Gujrat airways commenced its operations on Bangalore Belgaum Pune route but due to lack of traffic and technical reasons, it is stopped its operations. In 1999 air services from Sambra stopped completely.

After 1999 till 2003 the airport was being utilized by politicians and the Air force for training with no commercial flights.

In 2003 Air Deccan the low-cost airline started its operations and Belgaum was back on the radar. Service was commenced on 29 September 2003 with the Mumbai – Bangalore service via Belgaum. Later due to lack of traffic only Belgaum – Bangalore service was in operation.

This airport also acted as a base during the Goa liberation movement in 1961.

15 thoughts on “Sambra airport was commissioned in 1942 by RAF”

  1. I would like to correct some missing facts from the above article

    Belgaum airport was used for Goa liberation in 1975 the war was just for 17 hrs and the fighters were 4 Migs operated from Belgaum(though there was no operational flying unit).
    Between 1980 to 1986 was used by Sea harrier for Tocuhdown and night landing practice
    The Airline mentioned as is wrong NEPC not NEDC (Chennai based Enrgy group)
    Till 1995 all is well was the fact was Belgaum was on the booming end of Industrialization, Karantaka government faced power shortage and much of Belguam migrated to Mahrashtra (Kolhapur) and Belur Industrial area Dharwad where ther use to be two flights for Mumbai and and daily flight of Bangalore Goa.
    The laod factor for Belgaum was 80 % to Mumbai 60 % to Bangalore
    Gujrat Airways had Bangalore Belgaum Pune connectivity
    SPAN aviation and VISA airways never took off due to fialure of IPO
    1995 the upgradation of Belguam Airports funds were diverted to Jammu and state government proposed Hubli Airport expnasion which picked up some load only aftre TELCO came up

  2. Even there was a connecting flight to Chennai (Madras) from Belgaum in 1990.

    Now check out what our Civil Aviation minister had promised on 15th Nov 2009 which was published in this website? (Flights to resume frm Belgaum within 3 months from Nov 2009) in the link below;

    Where is our Hon. Civil Aviation minister?And what about his promise?

    • Promises are made to be broken!! Everything boils down to the balance sheet, as long as there is not enough load factor, I doubt the carriers will resume the flights.

    • Guys the problem is not of load factor , even now the Hubli via flt of Mumbai Bangalore is having 39 % load factor the rest 61 % carries Mumbai bangalore load, for that sake towards Mumbai to Belgaum load factor is much higher than Hubli, I have been traveling this sector since last 10 years, even when Air Deccan launched the Mumbai Kolhapur flt was extended to Belgaum apart from regular Mumbai Belgaum Hubli Mumbai flt , there is some foul play in forcing Belgaum to have Bangalore connectivity , the load factor to Bangalore is less than Mumbai , many industries from Mumbai are based in Belgaum than Bangalore

  3. Pity what Belgaum loses Hubli gains. Kingfisher flies to Hubli daily from B'lore. Recently used this connection to reach Bgm on urgent base. Come on Belgaumites fight for flight..!!! at least for the pride.

  4. It's not only about pride, but also a dist that is second to bangalore and is having tremendeous growth in recent years, it's high time that the govt officials should look into the matter.

  5. Your site is interesting but contains a couple of glaring errors, which you may not be aware of.

    When referring to the RAF it is should be stations, airfields or camps but never by Base. A base (is a foundation for a shed) used by the Americans to mean airfield or flying station.

    Thanks for the chance to read your website and I have other RAF information about RAF Station Sambre if you would like it.

    Davy 🙂

    • Hello Davy,
      My father’s RAF certificate of service shows that spent time in in India and surrounding theatres from 1943 until 1945/6.
      These are some of the notations on the certificate – No 7 BSU – MOFR/WOU, 55517 MSU, 241 ASU and 725 FC.
      I would be very interested in any information that you could share.

  6. Dear friends, It’s all about MONEY. Any airliner works for profits. Belgaum doesn’t fetch enough business for airline business presently and that’s the reason no flight takes off presently.

  7. As we go in future, major goal for air transport should be to support manufacturing industries. This can not be offloaded to anything else. As far as people are concerned, they will connect to different parts of the world majorly through communication networks, and physical travel, very few times.

    We should manufacture so much to pull the carriers first, then that will pull the people who want to travel 🙂

  8. If the industries understand how they can benefit by saving travel time, and use that time in their factories, they can switch from road transport to air transport..


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