Panaji : The Indian Navy-run military-cum-civilian airport at Dabolim will not be shut when a new greenfield airport at Mopa in north Goa comes up, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has said.
"There is no question of stopping operations there. The Dabolim airport is a must for Goa," Parrikar said, adding that a new airport at Mopa, 45 km from here, was essential because of increasing air traffic. Parrikar was responding to a question in the assembly Wednesday.
"The Goa airport handles 3.5 million tourists. There are 25,000 flights landing and taking off every year. The maximum capacity for handling passengers at the Dabolim airport is only 900 passengers per hour, but currently it is handling 2,000 passengers per hour," Parrikar said.
He added that the new airport at Mopa village could get going within three to four years if the formalities were completed and construction was carried out unhindered.
The debate over the Dabolim airport in south Goa and the upcoming Mopa airport in north Goa has divided public opinion here virtually on regional lines.
While the hotels as well as the tourism industry and other stakeholders in south Goa are rooting for Dabolim to be functional, a similar lobby in north Goa is gunning for expediting construction of the new airport.