IndiaNewsNetwork.IN Bureau | 2nd October 2015: Serious concerns have been raised by the tourism industry in Goa, over the closure of a runway at the State’s Dabolim Airport between 10 PM to 4 AM everyday for repairs, as the move has come at a time when the tourist season is about to start.
The Dabolim Airport which doubles up as an airbase of the Indian Navy is closed to civilian aircraft from 7 am to 1 pm, when Navy aircraft use the runway. The new timings will have a major impact on international airlines as the window for landing will be very short.
The restrictions imposed by the Navy which came into effect yesterday and will be in place until November 29.
The time restrictions at the airport, which doubles up as an airbase of the Indian Navy, can affect as many as 9-10 flights daily, including the international ones, as well as the chartered flights which mainly come from Russia, industry leaders opined.
“This is a very bad move at the start of the tourism season. Combined with the economic slowdown in Europe and especially in Russia, it is a very bleak news for the tourism industry,” said Nilesh Shah, vice-president of Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG).
TTAG has taken up the issue with the state tourism department as well as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar who is here over the weekend.
Runway repairs, the second this year, should have been postponed until the end of the tourism season or should have been conducted during the time the Navy reserves the runway for itself, some industry representatives said.
On normal days, the airport is closed for civilian operations between 7 AM to 1 PM every day.
Earlier a delegation of representatives of Pegas Touristik, Russia’s largest charter tourism operator, had called on the state tourism minister. Besides seeking relaxation in airport time, it also sought reduction of aircraft handling fees at Dabolim.
(with inputs from PTI)