PM Modi inaugurates Goa’s second airport, first commercial flight on Jan 5


Prime Minister on Sunday inaugurated Goa’s second airport, about 35km from Panjim city and having an annual passenger handling capacity of 4.4 million.

The airport, named after former Defence Minister and CM Manohar Parrikar and situated near Mopa village in North Goa, has been built on 2,132 acres at a cost of Rs 2,870 crore.

At the inauguration, Modi stressed that the new airport will further boost tourism in and accused previous central governments of reluctance in investing in air connectivity.

The Manohar International Airport, which has been built by the GMR Group, has a 3,500-metre runway. The airport’s first commercial flight is scheduled on January 5, and expansion plans in the future are touted to raise its capacity to 33 million passengers per year.

The existing International Airport in Dabolim, South Goa, handles about 8.5 million passengers per annum. It has reached a saturation point in terms of slots and passenger capacity.

“There has been an old demand that Goa needs a second airport as one airport is just not enough. This second airport) project’s (planning was done under the (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee government but it dragged on after that (government),” Modi said after inaugurating the new airport.

With two in Goa, the state will turn into a cargo hub, he said.

“Before 2014, air travel was a luxury in India. Previous governments did not think that general class train passengers also want to travel by air. Those governments were reluctant to invest in airports,” Modi said.

“From 1947 to 2014, India only had 70 . We spread air travel to smaller regions. In the last eight years, about 72 new have been developed,” he said, adding that as connectivity has spread, air travel is within reach for more people.

GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL) had on November 8, 2016, signed a concession agreement with the state government to build and operate the new airport for a period of 40 years from the appointed date. This contract can be further extended by 20 years. PM Modi had laid the foundation stone of the airport on November 13, 2016.

The airport, which has 18 check-in counters, is capable of handling large aircraft such as the Airbus A380, and it also has rapid exit taxiways and six cross taxiways for quicker aircraft movement. It currently has 12 aircraft stands — five with passenger boarding bridges and seven remote parking bays.

“I am happy that this airport has been named after my former colleague Manohar Parrikarji. His name will be on the lips of people coming to Goa,” Modi said.

He added it was very important that ease of travel was ensured in India. “In the last eight years, India has made huge efforts to increase its tourism profile by easing visa processes, granting more visas on arrivals, boosting digital connectivity, etc.”

Everyone earns from tourism and the double-engine government (the Bharatiya Janata Party-run central and state governments) is pushing tourism in Goa, he noted, adding that Goans need not be told about the importance of tourism.

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said the Dabolim airport had been facing slot and capacity constraints, which the new airport will help resolve.

He said Rs 95,000 crore will be invested to increase the number of airports from 145 to 210 and to grow the commercial aircraft fleet size from 700 to 1,200 in India.

Scindia said that under previous governments, barely one airport was developed per year.

However, under the Modi government, airports in Deogarh, Hollongi (Itanagar), Bengaluru and now new Goa were inaugurated in 2022 itself, he added.


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