PM Modi claimed that Goa needs a 2nd airport to increase tourism, but locals are concerned that it will serve as a point of entry for low-cost travelers to the nearby Konkan area.
The new airport is situated around 35 kilometers from Panaji (Panjim), the state capital of Goa, at Mopa in North Goa. GMR Airports Limited, which won an open bid to create the greenfield airport at a cost of ₹2,870 crores, is the company that developed it.
After the Portuguese colonial rulers built the Dabolim airport in South Goa in 1955, this would be Goa’s second airport. The Indian Navy owns the Dabolim airport, which has a restricted capacity and was impeding efforts to increase tourism—the backbone of the Goan economy.
In order to handle the anticipated increase in tourists to the state, PM Modi assured skeptics that civil activities would continue at the old Dabolim airport and stated that two airports would be required.
The nation as a whole, not just the state, needs the Mopa International Airport. A backup airport was always required in Goa. In an attempt to allay the persistent rumour that civil operations at the Dabolim airport would end, Modi stated, “The new airport will serve crores of passengers every day and also boost tourism. With this new airport one can easily avail car rental service in Goa and travel around the Goa with comfort.
The option to select the preferred airport for their operations has been granted to the airlines. They are free to utilize either or both airports. Go First, a domestic airline, was the first to announce that, starting on January 5, it would continue to operate from the Dabolim airport and offer 42 weekly direct flights to the Mopa International Airport, which connects Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. Currently, Go First connects Goa with 65 weekly flights. It is anticipated that it will run Dabolim’s last 23 trips.
Similarly, IndiGo, a local airline, has declared that it will run 12 daily flights from Mopa International Airport to other parts of the nation, such as Jaipur and Pune.
The only foreign airline yet to announce direct flights between Muscut and Mopa starting in February is Oman Air. There are currently 170 daily flights, some of which are international, out of Dabolim airport.
Across 2,132 acres of land, Mopa International Airport has been constructed. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government at the Center had the idea for the project. But throughout the ten years of the Congress party’s reign between 2004 and 2014, the project was shelved. When the Modi-led BJP administration won office in 2014 and Manohar Parrikar became the defense minister, the project was given new life. In 2016, Modi set the new airport’s foundation stone.
The runway at Mopa airport is significantly larger and wider than the one at Dabolim, measuring 3.5 kilometers in length and 60 meters in width. Larger planes, such as the A380, can operate from here with ease. There are four phases to the completion of the project. It can accommodate 4.4 million passengers annually at first, and after all four phases are finished, that number will rise to 13.1 million. The Dabolim airport can accommodate up to 8.5 million people annually.
Currently, the Mopa airport can accommodate 3,200 passengers, 4,000 checked bags per hour, and 200 daily flights. The passenger terminal building features eighteen check-in counters spread across 67,726 square meters of construction. The airport have huge parking space where to can get self drive car rental at mopa airport easily at affordable prices.
It will be run on the PPP model by the GMR Group for 40 years, with an option to extend it for a further 20 years at that point.
Even though it is one of India’s smallest states and has the fewest people overall, Goa is consistently at the top of the list when it comes to controversy.
There were controversy after controversy around the Mopa airport project.
It all began with the worries of South Goan hoteliers, cab drivers, dabolim airport car rental companies and local politicians who assumed that when the Mopa airport was built, civilian operations would cease at the old airport. They asserted that thousands of locals employed directly or indirectly in the hotel sector will be impacted by this.
After this was resolved and those who were against it were informed that the current Dabolim airport was unable to handle the anticipated surge in tourism in the upcoming years, necessitating the construction of a second airport 50 km distant, a dispute over the airport’s name broke out.
The Goan capital city of Panaji is just 35 km away from Mopa airport, whereas Vengurla is only 43 km away. Mopa airport is situated alongside the Maharashtra border.
There’s a real sense that the low-budget traveller may choose to visit Maharashtra instead of staying at pricey hotels in Goa, since the neighboring regions of Maharashtra likewise have beaches and all the tourist attractions. During the busiest travel season, it gets harder to get a room and the cost of accommodation increases dramatically.