Talks initiated with key global airlines including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways etc; Move made to modernise existing facilities at Dabolim; Special counter for farmers to promote local produce proposed
VASCO: Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday claimed that the Civil Aviation Ministry had decided to market Goa globally, for which he has already initiated talks with foreign airlines to market destinations in India, particularly Goa.
Prabhu was speaking to reporters after reviewing the progress of the proposed expansion of the existing facilities at Dabolim airport, which includes the extension of terminal building and parking bays at the cost of Rs 256 crore.
Before briefing the media Prabhu also interacted with ministers from cabinet advisory committee of State government and other state ministers at Dabolim airport.
We had a meeting with all the senior ministers of Goa and had a detailed discussion about how we should promote Goa as a tourism destination, using airport as a medium to achieve that target, he said.
“The new airport at MOPA will come up in addition to the present airport at Dabolim, which is being redeveloped and a lot of infrastructural work has been initiated. Dabolim airport is being renovated and modernised to ensure that the airport will also remain functional even in future and to make sure it will continue to service the growing demand for tourism,” he added.
We are already trying to modernise the existing facilities at the Dabolim airport, which will be ready before the beginning of the next tourism season, he emphasized.
He said in additional to this the ministry of civil aviation has decided to market Goa and is negotiating with foreign airlines. “Recently I had a meeting with Global CEO of Singapore Airlines and told him to market destinations in India, particularly Goa. I will have talks with other leading airlines, including Emirates, Lufthansa, British Airways etc giving the message of marketing India and Goa globally. This is a major programme we have launched so that Goa get more high-spending tourists, while creating jobs in Goa,” he said.
Prabhu said the MPOA airport will have the capacity of over three crore passenger handling facility and there will be more tourists coming in Goa using both the airports and this will also facilitate huge growth in Goa and therefore infrastructure in Goa will be augmented to meet that demand.
Prabhu stated that there is a great possibility of using airports in Goa for transportation of cargo as the same can create huge job opportunities in Goa.
“Farmers who grow vegetables and fruits will get international market and better prices. In addition to serving the passengers both these airports will also continue to serve the growing need for cargo movement to and from Goa,” he said.
The aviation minister said Goa airport will have special counter to promote local produce. “We have also decided that AAI will allot a counter to Goa government at the airport so that the local products would be sold, whether they are souvenirs produced by local self-help groups or the local products which are grown by farmers or other opportunities,” he added
Commenting on the taxi operators grievances, Prabhu said the AAI will soon enter into an agreement with Goa government so that the State government can also operate additional counter for taxi operators, to ensure that local taxi operators can also use this facility.
He said Goa government and Central government were working as partners to help passengers, tourists and local economy.