GOA: Goa’s newly inaugurated Mopa airport began operations from Thursday and IndiGo is all set to make this airport its largest ever new station base with 12 daily flights from eight different cities and 168 weekly flights, giving a boost to tourism and better connectivity to the coastal state.
The Mopa airport which is also called as Manohar International airport was inaugurated with an IndiGo flight from Hyderabad that landed at this new airport on Thursday morning. This flight was followed by the Delhi to Goa inaugural flight which landed at this airport around 10 am.
The Sunday Guardian was onboard the Delhi to Goa inaugural flight operated by IndiGo and the enthusiasm both within the passengers and the crew on board the flight was palpable where passengers were warmly welcomed on the flight by the crew and several goodies presented by the airlines to the passengers on board.
Some of the passengers that The Sunday Guardian spoke to said that they were excited to be a part of the inaugural flight operated by the budget carrier IndiGo out of Delhi and to Goa as many had never been on any inaugural flight and they said that being on the first flight to Goa’s new airport was a “surreal” experience.
Mopa airport is the second airport that the coastal city has received in recent history and has a huge potential to change the tourism landscape of Goa that sees a huge footfall of tourists throughout the year. Goa is a leisure travel destination not only for Indian tourists but also for foreign tourists that flock the beaches of Goa throughout the year. This airport is located on the northern side of Goa and is a full-scale airport, unlike the Dabolim airport in South Goa which is a naval airbase and is being used for restricted civilian operations. The Dabolim airport also has no operations in the morning hours as the naval air exercises are carried out during that part of the day, which had been an impediment towards the growth of air network for the tourist state.
This airport has the potential to handle 4.4 million passengers per year and enhanced cargo operations. While addressing the press at the Mopa airport, Peter Elbers, CEO of IndiGo said the new airport has a huge potential and gives the airlines an opportunity to expand its network and cater to more traffic.
“The old airport in Goa (Dabolim airport) had almost reached its potential and this new airport was the need of the hour. This new airport in North Goa will be able to boost tourism in the state and there is a huge demand that is coming from this state. With this airport now in operation we as IndiGo are expecting to carry 15 lakh passengers to Goa within the first year.” Elbers said.
IndiGo began its operations to this airport on Thursday with 16 daily flights from eight different cities like that of Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.
Elbers also clarified that the existing operations of the airlines at the Dabolim airport in South Goa will remain unchanged and that the operations at the new airport are in addition to the existing flights that IndiGo already has at the South Goa airport.
“Mopa is the 76th domestic destination for IndiGo and the flights at Mopa airport are supplementing the already existing flights that we have at the Dabolim airport, we are not replacing our flights. We are constantly adding more and more flights to our network and I am happy and blessed that I am a part of an airline that is connecting the country and the people of this country.” Elbers said.
Asked about international operations from the Mopa airport, Elbers said, “We are first building our domestic operations at this base and we will slowly move on to international destinations and Goa is definitely in our international expansion network.”
IndiGo has eight codeshare partnerships with international airlines like that of Turkish Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Qatar Airways, Air France, American Airlines amongst others, that gives Indian travellers an opportunity to seamlessly travel across several parts of the globe including Europe and the United States.