Since inception of flight services from Goa Manohar International Airport, flight operations at old Dabolim Airport have significantly reduced. Goa Dabolim Airport is located in South Goa. It is a civil enclave in an Indian Navy air base named INS Hansa.
Decline Witnessed by Goa Dabolim Airport
As per a report by Vibha Verma of The Goan, flight operations have witnessed a consistent downtrend since the inception of operations at North Goa Manohar Parrikar International Airport. On January 5, 2023, operations started at New Goa Manohar Parrikar International Airport. For first two months – January & February 2023, the traffic was normal. But from March, the traffic started to decrease. Since then, it is going down consistenly.
From March, the average number of domestic flights started falling down. The airport witnessed a decline of 15% in March 2023. By November 2023, number of domestic flights at Dabolim was 26.8% less than previous year.
Not just this, the percentage of passengers carried went down consistently. Initially, it started decreasing in single-digit degrade. Later, it started ranging somewhere around twenty percent. By November, number of domestic flights at Goa Dabolim was 32.4% less than corresponding previous year.
In December 2022, the airport operated 5,220 domestic flights. In Deceber 2023, it operated only 3,470 domestic flights. This figures show the impact caused to Goa Dabolim Operations due to inception of services at New Airport.
International Operations Impacted
At Goa Dabolim Airport, international operations also suffered an impact from the opening of Mopa Airport. In December 2022, the airport handled 366 flights. Now, the number is down to 257.
The reason behind this is that many airlines shifted international operations from Dabolim to Mopa Airport. Primary examples are Oman Air and Air India. Air India shifted its London Gatwick service from Dabolim to Mopa with effect from July 21. This was the maiden international flight for Mopa Airport.
Come October, Oman Air shifted its Muscat to Goa flight operations from Dabolim to Mopa Airport. Oman Air was the foreign airline to start services to Mopa Airport. Soon after Oman Air service start, UK-based TUI Airways announced seasonal charter flights to Mopa Airport. The table below demonstrates how international passenger numbers increased at Mopa Airport.
Ten foreign flights arrived in Goa with 1,951 passengers in July. This number increased by 200% by August, when there were 30 flights carrying 4,471 people. September saw a further increase in numbers, with 53 flights carrying 6,625 people.
October 2023 marked the beginning of the tourism season, as MIA handled 63 international flights, serving 7,188 people. The trend continued into November 2023, when there were over 100 flights and 16,061 passengers from all around the world.
Mopa Airport started operations in January 2023. 2 months after the start, old Dabolim Airport started witnessing downtrend in passenger numbers as well as flights. The airport is operated jointly by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Navy. Hence, many a times, due to VIP movements or military exercises, civil operations get disrupted at the airport. In a recent incident, tyre of a Mig-29K burst at the taxiway disrupting entire airport operations. Airfield was shut for almost 5 hours until the fighter jet was removed from the sole taxiway connecting the civil terminal to Runway.
There are currently 25 domestic and 4 international connections from Goa Manohar Airport International. With more than three million passengers handled since opening on January 5, 2023, it has emerged as a key actor in changing the face of air travel in Goa.
In addition to domestic carriers like IndiGo, Akasa Air, Vistara, and SpiceJet operating out of Mopa Airport, foreign carriers including Air India, Oman Air, IndiGo, and TUI Airways serving overseas destinations. It hopes to serve eight million passengers annually through the ongoing Phase 3 Stage 1 expansion, with completion anticipated prior to October 2024.
Featured Image : A.Savin, FAL, via Wikimedia Commons
Source : The Goan