PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Mopa International Airport, a greenfield airport built at Mopa, Pernem 35 Km away from Goa’s capital Panaji and having an annual passenger handling capacity of 4.4 million on Sunday, December 11.
The newly-inaugurated Mopa International Airport in Goa has been named after former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. Developed at the cost of INR 2,870 crore and has been built on 2,132 acres, Goa’s second airport will start operations on January 5, 2023.
Parrikar was a highly reputed leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Goa who as his last political duty served as the Chief Minister of Goa from 14 March 2017 until his death. Before this, he served as Goa’s Chief Minister from 2000 to 2005 and from 2012 to 2014. From October 2014 to March 2017, he also served as the defence minister.
At the inauguration, Modi stressed that the new airport will further boost tourism in Goa 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.
“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).
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. With two airports in Goa, the state will turn into a cargo hub.”PM Narendra Modi
The existing Goa 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.
GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), by and large, a wholly owned subsidiary of GMR Airports Limited (GAL), is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) created to design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) the new Goa airport.
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 laid the foundation stone of the airport on November 13, 2016.
The Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) storage capacity is i7,500 Kilo Litres. It also has an expansive 25,000 Metric Tonnes temperature-controlled cargo terminal. There are 18 check-in counters and four self-baggage drop facilities. Twelve Immigration and eight Emigration Counters are there in the integrated terminal building.
The airport 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.
The airport will feature a single runway (09/27), which will be 3,750m long and 60m-wide. The runway is designed to accommodate a Boeing 777-200.
The runway will have two rapid exit ways interconnected with taxiways. The taxiway will be 3,750m long and 25m-wide. Runway (09 – 27) will be constructed for Code E in the initial phase which will be augmented for code F in phase 3, which will enable the operation of Airbus A380.
The airport is being developed in four phases. In Phase 1, the airport will have a capacity of 4.4 million passengers per annum (MPPA). Phase 2 will have a capacity of 5.8 MPPA. Phase 3 will have a capacity of 9.4 MPPA and Phase 4 will have a capacity of 13.1 MPPA.
While several airlines have committed to starting flight operations from the newly-built airport, IndiGo and Go First have announced to start of 168 and 42 flights, respectively, from the new airport next month.
The Mopa International Airport is built on the theme of sustainable infrastructure, with green buildings, rain water harvesting, a solar power plant, and a state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant.
The airport has been built on the theme of sustainable infrastructure and has a solar power plant, green buildings, LED lights on the runway, rainwater harvesting, state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant with recycling facilities. It has adopted some of the best-in-class technologies like 3D Monolithic precast buildings, StabilRoad, Robomatic Hollow precast walls, and 5G compatible IT infrastructure.
The new airport is expected to significantly relieve the capacity constraints faced by airlines due to security restrictions and the availability of slots at the Dabolim International Airport, which is a Navy airport.
Mopa airport will not only ease the tourist load of the state’s only airport but also benefit nearby states such as Karnataka and Maharashtra, acting as a cargo hub for the region, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said at an event on November 25.
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.
The in-principle approval to Goa government for setting up a greenfield airport at Mopa village was granted by the Centre in March 2000. According to official information, the airport is expected to promote the socio-economic development of the state and meet the needs of the tourism industry.
It has the potential to serve as a major logistics hub, directly connecting several domestic and international destinations. Multi-modal connectivity is also planned for the airport. Being a world-class airport, the airport will also give visitors the feel and experience of Goa.
ALSO READ – Dabolim Airport will remain operational
“The existing airport at Goa which is a Civil Enclave for which a terminal building is maintained by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) is a defence airport belonging to the Indian Navy. Goa’s Dabolim airport will not be closed for civilian use even after the new international airport at Mopa becomes fully operational,” the Ministry of Civil Aviation said.
In September this year, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conducted the first test flight at Goa’s Mopa International Greenfield Airport. As a part of the testing protocol, an IndiGo Airbus A320 commercial flight from Mumbai landed at Mopa Airport’s new runway.
The Mopa airport is expected to boost the state economy which is dependent on tourism. The tourism industry in Goa directly contributes 16.43% towards the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and also provides employment to nearly 35% of the state’s population that is dependent on the sector. The new airport will generate up to two lakh jobs within the next few years.
Panaji has now become the first capital city in the country to have two operational airports. Plans are in progress to build second airports to feed cities like Delhi and Mumbai. While Delhi will get a second airport in Jewar, Mumbai will get its second airport in Navi Mumbai.