• Centre will go by State’s decision on Dabolim airport: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju

    Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today said that Centre would be guided by the State government in deciding whether the existing Dabolim airport in the coastal state will continue after commissioning of new greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa.

    “If the state government wants Dabolim airport to remain functional then it will continue. I would say Centre would be guided by the state in this regard,” Raju told reporters at Dabolim airport here where he was present for art gallery inauguration.

    On continuing with Indian Navy managed Dabolim airport as a civil facility (airport), Raju said it is for everyone to decide locally. “In some states they would like to have exclusive airports (for civil operations) because they (airports) also start giving returns in future,” he said.

    “The Centre is of the view that when an airport is coming within 150 kms of existing airport it is for the operator to decide because this divides the business and could make it financially unviable,” he added.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently laid foundation stone for new greenfield airport at Mopa which is within 100 kms radius of the existing Dabolim airport.

    Responding to a question on whether the Indian Navy’s activities would be curtailed at Dabolim airport to make way for more civil aircrafts, the minister said, “Country should never give up its defence preparedness. Most of our countrymen will never like it. We need civil activity but it is not at the cost of defence preparedness.”

    Talking about Goa, Raju said the number of domestic flights have gone up in the coastal state which is an indication that a lot of Indians are coming to Goa now.

    “Last year the number of charters came down, we hope it picks up this year because it helps the economic activity. This place has a tourism culture,” he added.

    “Country’s military needs are one thing and civil needs are another. We have realised that initially it helps to make use of military facility but when you grow to your potential, that becomes inadequate,” he said referring to Dabolim airport. Andy Janovich Jersey

    Share This