After several setbacks and delays, Goa’s new airport, i.e., Mopa International Airport, is finally coming into operation. The new greenfield airport at Mopa opened its door on December 11, 2022, with the official inauguration by PM Narendra Modi. It is the second airport in Goa built to lift capacity constraints at Dabolim Airport and boost tourism in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who founded Mopa Airport in 2016, inaugurated it yesterday. He named the new facility ”Manohar International Airport” in honor of the late Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parikkar. The PM assured that the new airport would improve connectivity and give a push to tourism in Goa.
In the first phase, Mopa International Airport will be capable enough to handle 4.4 million passengers annually. By the end of the project, the passenger capacity will increase to 13.1 million per year. Situated in the North Goa district, the airport will play an instrumental role in enhancing the tourism activity of the region.
Go First to operate 42 weekly services from next month
Mopa International Airport (GOX) is set to embark on a new journey by starting commercial operations on January 5, 2023. The airport has witnessed the expected rush of eager carriers like Go First, IndiGo, Omar Air, etc.
Go First; the Mumbai-based ultra-low-cost airline has announced to launch of flights from GOX Airport starting January 5. As per the airline’s announcement, the maiden flight to GOX from Bengaluru will commence at 8:50 am. The flights from other cities will soon follow afterward. The carrier will direct service from Goa’s second airport to Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore.
The no-frills carrier will operate 42 flights a week from Goa’s newest airport. However, the new addition won’t affect its operations at the current Dabolim airport in the coastal state. Dabolim Airport (GOI) is the existing international air facility serving Goa in the southern part of the state. Presently, Go First offers 65 weekly services from GOI to cities in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Nagpur.
Regarding the new move, Go First CEO Kaushik Khona explained that adding a new facility fortified its presence in Goa. He said,” As we expand our network in leisure destinations, Goa is an extremely important destination for us.” The move to GOX is a step toward reinforcing domestic connectivity to meet the increasing demand for holidaying places.
Recently, Go First has emerged as a key player in Indian aviation with the expansion of its route network. The low-cost carrier is gradually bolstering its presence by offering flights to new domestic and international destinations.
IndiGo to introduce new flights from Mopa Airport.
The Indian mega low-cost carrier, IndiGo, is also gearing up to strengthen its foothold in Goa. Effective January 5, IndiGo will offer direct new connections from Mopa Airport to Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune. The service to Ahmedabad, Jaipur, and Hyderabad will start a day later, on January 6. India’s leading carrier will link the new airport to 8 cities across India with 12 daily flights. Except for Chennai and Ahmedabad, the other six cities will see daily service to New Goa International Airport.
With 168 weekly flights to 8 destinations, it will be IndiGo’s largest-ever new station launch. Introducing new flights supports IndiGo’s vision to strengthen connectivity and serve customers in the best possible way. The massive opening adds much-needed capacity to North Goa and makes it more accessible.
IndiGo will operate the maiden flight on the Mopa-Delhi route. Flight 6E 6301 departing from Delhi will touch down at Mopa Airport at 10:05 local time. Flight 6E 6302 will depart the new airport at 10: 35 hours and arrive in Delhi at 13: 05 local time.
Like Go First, IndiGo will keep its operations at Dabolim Airport active. Currently, the Gurgaon-headquartered LCC directly links Southern Goa to key Indian destinations with daily service from Dabolim Airport. From GOI Airport, IndiGo flies non-stop to Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, etc.
The low-cost carrier has designed new flights to capitalize on the needs of travelers looking for new and affordable flying options to access the leisure destination. The paradisiacal sands, awe-inspiring forts, and ubiquitous party towns draw thousands of holidaymakers to Goa. The massive offerings of air connection to North Goa will cater to the increasing travel demand in the region. Furthermore, Northern Goa residents will benefit from the direct link to the country’s major large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc.
Oman Air to move its operations to Goa Mopa
While Go First and IndiGo boost regional connectivity in the country, one foreign carrier will ferry international travelers to/from Goa Mopa International Airport. The Muscat-based Oman Air has already decided to end Dabolim operations in favor of the Goa Mopa service.
Beginning February 1, 2023, Oman’s national airline will shift its flight schedule from Dabolim to Mopa Airport. From the second month of 2023, Mopa Airport will handle all Oman Air flights arriving and departing from Goa.
The carrier will continue flying from GOI Airport till January 2023 and schedule the shift to GOX airport on February 1.
According to the new schedule, Oman Air will offer four weekly services on the Muscat-Goa Mopa route. The carrier will deploy 162-seater 737 Max 8 aircraft to fly between Muscat International Airport and Mopa Airport. Oman’s Muscat-Goa service is scheduled as follows:
- WY 217: Depart Muscat at 02:35 and arrive in Goa Mopa at 07:00 local time, 7M8 37
- WY218: Depart Goa Mopa at 10: 25 and arrive in Muscat at 12: 05 local time, 7 M8 37
- WY219: Depart Muscat at 09: 05 and arrive in Goa Mopa at 13: 30 local time, 7 M8 46
- WY220: Depart Goa Mopa at 16: 15 and arrive in Muscat at 17: 55 local time, 7 M8 46
Need for Mopa Airport: Why?
Dabolim Airport currently has a common runway for civilian and military operations. Owned by the Indian Navy, the airport handles civil and military air service, leading to severe airside congestion. The airport doesn’t allow private carriers to land for nearly four hours each morning to mitigate capacity constraints.
Currently, around 170 flights depart and touch down at GOI Airport daily. With the hustle and bustle of hundreds of passengers, the terminal is packed to the gills at peak hours in the airport. The Navy’s premises deter the long-term growth of the civilian airport at GOI, leading to a need for a new airport.
The new civilian airport at Mopa will alleviate capacity constraints at Dabolim Airport and act as a new gateway into Goa state. The capacity shift to Mopa Airport will lift the constraints faced at Dabolim for the state.
What will happen to Dabolim Airport once Mopa Airport comes into operation?
From next year, Panaji, the capital of the Indian state of Goa, will have two operational airports. When GOX starts its commercial operations in Jan 2023, it won’t spell a death knell for GOI Airport. The government will keep civil operations active in both airports. Once both airports are up and running, the key objective will be to uplift the state’s socioeconomic development.
It’s up to the market demand to decide which airport will cater to how much passenger traffic yearly. Dabolim will serve as a gateway to South Korea, and Mopa as the Northern gateway.
Dabolim Airport brief information
Dabolim Airport (GOI) is an international civil airport in INS Hansa naval airbase serving India’s tiniest state Goa. Spread over 688 hectares, the airport has both civilian and military/naval presence. The airport enjoys direct connections to around 15 domestic destinations served by a handful of carriers. Home-based airlines operate out of Dabolim Airport, including AirAsia India, Go First, IndiGo, SpiceJet, and Vistara.
Besides, the airport also features routes outside the country to Sharjah, Doha, Muscat, London Heathrow, etc. Qatar Airways, TUI Airways, and LOT Polish Airlines operate seasonal charter flights to Goa via Dabolim Airport.
Mopa Airport brief information
Mopa International Airport is a new facility in the North Goa district, which opened on December 11, 2022. Owned and operated by GMR Goa International Airport Limited, this greenfield airport is situated 35km away from Panaji. It is constructed at the cost of around 3000 crores in four phases and will operate on the hybrid model.
In the first phase, the passenger capacity is pegged at 4.4 million, which will reach 5.8 million in the second phase. The phase 3 expansion will increase the passenger per annum capacity to 9.4 million. Once the entire project is completed, the airport will have a saturation capacity of 13.1 million passengers.
The new Goa Airport will feature a cargo terminal, a runway capable of accommodating giant jets, and 14 parking bays. It will also have a designated area for a curated flea market and ample parking space.