Goa International Airport, gateway to nature’s own magnificent beauty and the ultimate tourist destination, has been proactively working towards steady growth
Aptly named “Pearl of the Orient,” Goa boasts of exquisitely shimmering white sand beaches with crystal clear blue water, picturesque groves of coconut trees and traditional hamlets. Situated on the western coast of India, Goa is surrounded by Maharashtra in the north, Karnataka in the east and south, and the Arabian Sea in the west.
Goa, being the much sought after destination right from the times of the early sea faring explorers, has evolved its own varient of distinct and multi-cultural lifestyle, where different cultures co-exist idyllically. Mixed with stunning green undulating hinterland that rolls up to the Western Ghats, it provides a delectable and relaxing recipe for a world-class holiday experience.
Brief History And Development
Ruled by the Portuguese Government till its liberation in 1961, the Goa International Airport developed as a small airfield in the early phase of the 19th century, mainly to provide connections to Lisbon and other Portuguese dominions.
The airfield was extensively damaged during the Goan liberation and was repaired and re-commissioned by the Indian Navy, which took control and established it as a naval aviation base. A civil enclave was established in the mid-1960s with two flights a day to Mumbai. Air traffic grew over the course of time due to the popularity of Goa. In the year 1983, a regular airport terminal was constructed to coincide with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet hosted by the state.
Perceiving a demand for operation of big aircraft, the runway was expanded in the late 1980s to 4,150 metres, which set off a boom of direct widebodied charter aircraft from Europe, earning Goa Airport the nickname of “Charter Gateway of India”. The airport terminal was again expanded in 1998 with separate blocks for international and domestic flights, as the big jet charters required more space and facilities.
At present, 79 Arrivals and 79 Departures are handled on a daily basis apart from non-scheduled and Charter operations. During the tourist season, 90 Arrivals and 90 Departures are handled per day.
Goa is a hub for tourists throughout the year because of its popular cultural, sporting and social activities, giving mileage in connecting passengers both domestically and internationally.
The major existing domestic routes at the Goa Airport are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Amritsar/ Chandigarh, Kannur, Cochin, Delhi, Lucknow/Varanasi, Hyderabad, Surat/ Indore/Jaipur, Kolkata/Patna, Mumbai, Pune, Hubballi. The international routes goes all the way to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Doha, Kuwait, Sharjah, Moscow and Muscat. The Goa Airport also operates international charter flights to Russia, Ukraine, Finland, the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan and Iran.
An Acing Architecture Terminal
A continued surge in air traffic necessitated the construction of a state-of-the-art integrated terminal building that was commissioned in December 2013. The imposing new building features aesthetic glass, modelled on the “sea wave” pattern with large steel span structures and frameless glazing.
The 62,000 square metre terminal is designed to cater to 7.5 million passengers annually and is equipped with eight aerobridges, 64 check-in counters, 24 immigration counters for departures, 36 immigration counters for arrivals, 14 security check booths and eight customs counters. The basement of the four-level terminal facilitates baggage handling, power and air conditioning systems. Recently, a west side extension to the terminal building has been commissioned with three aerobridges to meet the growing requirements of the air traffic.
The building also flaunts a state-of the-art Airport Operation Command Centre (AOCC) for dynamic airport facility allocation system that helps in the optimal utilisation of the airport resources, depending on the number of passengers or flights at any particular time. With judicious and efficient planning, the airport has accommodated a host of ancillary facilities like CUDCT (Common User Domestic Cargo Terminal) and the Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Range (DVOR) that is required for all-weather Category I landing approach system.
Passenger Traffic Analysis
As the traffic trend demonstrates, there has been a surge in passenger traffic every year since 2014. With the passengers footfalls constantly rising, both at the time of the arrival and departure, the Goa Airport is expected to grow significantly.
New Initiative Galore
* The unstinting endeavours of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) towards seamless and continuous development at
the Goa Airport has seen a collective investment of 150 crores in the last two years with a commitment of about 200 crores in the next two years.
* A parallel taxi track is being built to decongest the single runway at a cost of `185 crores. The first phase of the project is likely to be commissioned by July 2019. The track will give a tremendous fillip to the flight handling capacity, especially during the peak movement hours, and have a significant impact on the reduction of carbon emissions.
* As a part of its continuous endeavour to augment facilities, AAI is in the process of creating more aircraft parking space, for which three additional parking bays are being commissioned. This will significantly augment the air side handling capacity . To improve the all-weather landing capacity, a new instrument landing system is being installed at the airport a cost of 1.16 crores.
* Keeping in line with the latest architectural and aesthetic trends, the interiors of the airport terminal are being remodelled for an “open and see through” spacious appearance. The project involves relocation of airline and other facilitation counters to a more convenient location and refurbishing more spacious rest rooms with better conveniences and pleasing eye catching interiors.
* The airport is installing an In-Line Baggage Screening System at the airport, which will enable passengers to directly check in their registered baggage at the airline counters without pre-screening. It will considerably save on check in and queuing time and is expected to be available by July 2019.
* Under AAI’s “Go Green” initiative, the entire lighting system at the airport terminal is being replaced by energy saving lights at a cost of `1.45 crores. The green light fittings consume much less electricity and will result in saving electricity to the tune of around `90 lakh per year.
Furthering the theme that art communicates ideas and creates a sublime sense of beauty, AAI has embarked on an ambitious project to provide varied artworks like sculptures, wall paintings and historic art forms at different locations at the airport terminal. The project will also draw from local art talent and enhance the aesthetic beauty of the airport interiors.
New Food And Retail Outlets
In order to offer the best retail and food facilities to passenger, a new concept of “master concessionaire” has been introduced at the airport involving the best international, domestic and local brands spread over an area of more than 2100 square metres. The 45 retail outlets at the airport offer a complete shopping experience with best brands while 26 food outlets dish out a variety of Indian and International cuisine items, which are a veritable gastronomical delight for the airport users.
To surmount the problem of limited land resources, AAI is continuously engaging with the Government of Goa for provision of more area to create additional parking facilities, fuel farm, cargo and ancillary aviation developmental conveniences. Since tourism is an important economic indicator, these long-term plans are being proactively perused to tackle steady year-on-year growth at the Goa International Airport and provide a fillip to the socio-economic development of not only the state but also the surrounding catchment regions.