‘Dabolim airport has reached its saturation point’

Reiterating the State government’s resolve to ensure continuation of the existing international airport in Dabolim even after the proposed Mopa airport became a reality, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the proposed Mopa airport will become economically viable only by serving as an export hub together with the handling of additional passenger traffic growing beyond the handling capacity of the existing Dabolim airport.

The Chief Minister said the Dabolim airport had already reached its saturation point and that there was no possibility of it being further expanded. On the contrary, the air passenger traffic in the tourist State was growing at a very fast pace.

Replying to a special debate in the Legislative Assembly on the issue of two airports in Goa, Mr. Parrikar on Wednesday said the existing Dabolim airport even after expansion and upgradation would not be able to cope with the rapidly growing passenger traffic which was estimated to cross six million by 2017.

The passenger traffic projection of four million for Dabolim for 2014-15 was about to be surpassed in 2012-13. Therefore, the Mopa airport can have three million additional passengers estimated to be flying in and out of Goa by the time it becomes operational by the year 2017, he said.

Responding to issues raised during the discussion on the Mopa airport by the members of the House including Mauvin Godinho of Congress who had moved the notice for special discussion, Mr. Parrikar also informed the House that 200-km area around the proposed Mopa airport was a food processing hub and as such the proposed airport can serve as an exporting hub for the same.

He reiterated that in view of an increase in the air traffic to six million passengers in about a couple of years, the need for a second airport has become a necessity. He also said that the airstrip of the new airport would be 4,000 metres whereas that of Dabolim was much shorter and hence it could not be used for operations of wide-bodied aircraft.

He said the government would ensure that necessary changes were made in the agreement with the Centre over the issue.

Six-lane highway

The Chief Minister said that a six-lane highway would be constructed before the Mopa airport becomes operational as per the requirements listed in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) report. He said that the ICAO report had stated that Mopa was the best option for the State to meet future requirements and two airports was the second best option.

“It was the advice to Goa from ICAO way back in 2007 that by 2014 Dabolim will be congested and incapable of catering to increasing passenger and aircraft arrivals,” said Mr. Parrikar.

Denying allegation that the government was strangulating the expansion of Dabolim airport by not providing land for parking, he said that he had directed the Airport Authority of India(AAI) to give in writing the area needed and that the government would accordingly acquire the land and hand it over to the AAI.

Multilevel parking

He also said that a multilevel parking could be created by bringing down the old terminal building. Mr Parrikar said that with around Rs.350 crore having been spent on upgradation of Dabolim airport, there was no question of closing it down after Mopa became operational as the State would need services of both the airports.

Earlier on Tuesday, he had told the Legislative Assembly that the environmental clearance for the proposed Greenfield airport at Mopa was in the process.

  • ‘200-km area around the proposed Mopa airport is a food processing hub’

  • Air passenger traffic in Goa is estimated to cross six million by 2017