New Delhi: The cabinet on Thursday approved a new greenfield international airport for Goa alongside the present airport at Dabolim.
"The union cabinet today gave its approval for setting up of a new greenfield international airport at Mopa in north Goa," Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"The new airport at Mopa will be constructed on a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) basis, for which a private entity will be selected through a global tendering process," she added.
The cabinet also approved the continuation of commercial operations at Dabolim civil enclave airport by reviewing its earlier decision to close down the airport once commercial operations start from Mopa.
The continuation of operations at Dabolim will "enable the state to cater to the increased inflow of air traffic more efficiently as well as enable the balanced development of all parts of the state", Soni said.
When it was pointed out that the defence ministry wanted to discontinue civilian air traffic at Dabolim, the minister said: "The defence ministry was a party to today`s cabinet decision."
Dabolim is the land base of the Indian Navy`s Sea Harrier combat jets that are deployed on the aircraft carrier INS Viraat. It is also home to the MiG-29 jets that arrived this year for eventual deployment on the carrier Admiral Gorshkov, now renamed INS Vikramaditya that the navy has purchased from Russia and which is expected to join the fleet in 2012.
The navy also operates its maritime reconnaissance aircraft from Dabolim.
Dabolim is located 35 km south of Goa capital Panaji. Mopa is located 40 km north of Panaji.
The government had till now not permitted new airports within 150 km of an existing facility.
Answering a question about this, Soni said: "There is no blanket change in the government`s airport policy."
The government`s policy has come in the way of building a new airport at Greater Noida, to be located at Jewar, some 65 km from the national capital.