11 Jul 2024  |   06:57am IST

Bengaluru diversion of Mopa bound flights causes passenger outrage

Goan passengers wonder why the diverted flights are not landing at Dabolim airport, many stuck in Bengaluru for over 12 hours for replacement flights
Bengaluru diversion of Mopa bound flights causes passenger outrage


PANJIM: On Saturday, July 6, 2024, an Air India flight (AI 146), which took off from Gatwik Airport at 8.30 pm and was supposed to land at Mopa Airport at 10 am the next day was diverted to Bengaluru instead of Dabolim Airport. After waiting in Bengaluru the entire day, the harassed and tired passengers were brought back to Goa after 9 pm.

Narrating his experience, Dr Anil D'Silva, a leading dental surgeon, said, "There have been further incidents of happening. The worst part is that the airlines will give only excuses. They will not tell you why they are not going to Dabolim."

"I left from Gatwik at 8.30 pm on an Air India flight (AI 146) on Saturday and we were supposed to reach Goa at 10 am in the morning. That is why I booked a direct flight. When they reached here, they circled two three times. When I asked them they said we cannot land as visibility is very poor,” D'Silva said.

"There we were kept waiting saying that situation will improve in half an hour and we will leave. They asked us to deplane. They kept us without water and food till 4.30 pm," he said.

He went on to add, "Most of the passengers did not have breakfast or proper food because of the late night flight. People were pleading but there was nobody to listen to them. Food was served at 7 pm. The flight took off at around 8.30 pm in the night. It is completely absurd and there is some reason that why these international airlines are not dropping their passengers at Dabolim airport," Dr D'Silva said.

According to sources, most of the international airlines have closed their offices in Goa, making it difficult for the people to visit their offices and share their grievances in person. Interestingly, the airlines have websites which have all information except contact number of the person who can be contacted for any information.

Many international flights are being diverted to Bengaluru from Manohar International Airport, Mopa, ignoring the fact that Dabolim airport is located nearby. This is fanning the fear that Dabolim airport might be shut down for civilian traffic.

   As recently as on Tuesday (July 9, 2024), a Doha to Mopa Qatar Airways flight QR522 was diverted to Bengaluru from Manohar International Airport, Mopa, due to bad weather condition in the state.

This is making the Goan passengers, sizable of whom are frequent fliers, to wonder why the Dabolim airport which so fare has been close their heart is being ignored. Is there something which the stakeholders are tyring to hide?   

   However, a source said that airlines have agreements with the airports so they prefer to land their flights with those airports where they have tie-ups. 

   An airline which operates from Mopa will prefer to divert its flight to an airport where it operates from. It may be Mumbai or Bengaluru as it is easier for them as they have their own crew there. Any airline is not compelled to land at the closest airport. 

  Qatar Airways long-standing partnership with Dabolim ended on June 19 when it shifted all operations to Manohar International Airport at Mopa. The last departure of Qatar Airways from Doha to Dabolim was on June 19 and its last departure from Dabolim to Doha was on June 20.   

   Oman Airways had sifted its operations to Mopa Airport in October last year. 


Idhar Udhar