New Delhi: Government Thursday approved the
setting up of a greenfield international airport in Mopa area
of Goa through private participation and decided not to close
down commercial operations at the existing Dabolim airport.
The government also decided not to change the present
provisions prohibiting a second airport from coming up within
150 kms of an existing one, thus allaying apprehensions among
the locals about the possibility of the Dabolim airport being
closed down once the new one started operations.
"There was a lot of discussion on the issue," Information
and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here
after announcing the Union Cabinet`s green signal to the
proposal to set up the greenfield airport at Mopa.
"The new airport at Mopa will be constructed on a
Build-Own-Operate-Transfer basis, for which, a private entity
will be selected through a global tendering process," she
said, adding the Cabinet decided to grant it the status of an
Soni said the Cabinet approved continuation of commercial
operations at the existing Dabolim civilian airport "by
reviewing its earlier decision to close it down once the
commercial operations start from Mopa in Goa."
"Continuation of Dabolim airport at Goa will facilitate
the state to meet the requirement of increased inflow of air
traffic more efficiently as well as for balanced development
of all parts of the state," the Minister said.
The announcement could put a lid on years of unrest among
the locals. Way back in 2000, the Civil Aviation Ministry had
proposed that Dabolim airport should be closed down once an
airport starts operations in Mopa.
The closure of existing airports at Hyderabad and
Bangalore after the greenfield airports started, had also seen
With the government now reviewing its decision regarding
closure of Dabolim and allowing Mopa airport to come up within
the 150-km radius, Civil Aviation Ministry sources said it has
decided to grant such approval to at least two more airports
-- at Navi Mumbai and Kannur in Kerala.
The decision regarding Mopa airport could also pave the
way for an airport in Jhevar at Greater Noida, which falls
within the 150 km range of Delhi`s IGI Airport.
The sources said there were several instances worldwide
where two or even three airports existed within this range.
The cities include London, Paris and New York.
As per estimates, the investment in Mopa would be close
to USD 400 million. A 33,000 square metre passenger terminal
is envisaged at Mopa, which would have a Code F or super-jumbo
compatible runway to enable the largest aircraft, Airbus
A-380, to land.
Alongside, the Dabolim civil enclave is being expanded
and upgraded simultaneously.