The first passenger flight arrived at the Manohar International Airport in Goa from Hyderabad on Thursday morning, marking the commencement of operations at the new facility in the coastal state.
The IndiGo flight carrying 179 passengers was given a water canon salute when it landed at 9 am at the new airport located at Mopa in North Goa district, 35 km from capital Panaji.
Some of the passengers expressed happiness at the grand welcome and said they had an amazing experience.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said this ”dream come true” for Goa and a ”big achievement” for the state and the Centre.
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The passengers were happy and appreciated the services offered at the new airport, he said.
Union Minister Shripad Naik, the parliamentarian from North Goa, Rajya Sabha member Vinay Tendulkar, CM Sawant, state Tourism Minister Rohan Khaunte, Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho, BJP state chief Sadanand Shet Tanavade and the airline officials welcomed the passengers at the terminal building of the airport.
Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation V K Singh virtually participated in the event.
There was also a live band performance outside the airport to welcome the passengers.
Another passenger flight of IndiGo also left for Hyderabad, making it the first flight to depart from the new airport, sources said.
The dignitaries handed over the boarding passes to the passengers of that flight.
A couple who arrived from Hyderabad by the first flight said, ”The experience was very good. We are very glad to be a part of the celebration here.” Another couple from the same flight expressed happiness at the grand welcome and the water canon salute given to the aircraft after landing at the airport.
“It was amazing. Coincidently, it is also my husband’s birthday,” said the woman passenger.
Goa-based oncologist Dr Shekhar Salkar, who was among the passengers to leave for Delhi from the airport on the first day of its operations, told PTI, “It is a memorable and lifetime experience.” CM Sawant in a media statement after the function said, “With this, Goa’s dream has come true. The passengers were happy and appreciated the services offered at the new airport.” He said the airport will strengthen Goa’s capabilities for tourism, trade and business.
“This is a big achievement for the state and the central government. Goa has two airports from today onwards,” the chief minister told reporters outside the airport.
Khaunte said the new airport will provide impetus to the tourism growth in the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first phase of the new airport on December 11, 2022.
The airport has been named after late Manohar Parrikar, the former defence minister who had also served as the chief minister of Goa.
With the new facility at Mopa, Goa has now got another international airport which is located 50 km apart from the south Goa-based Dabolim facility, operated as a civil enclave in the Indian Navy’s air station INS Hansa.
The first phase of the Rs 2,870 crore Mopa airport project will cater to around 4.4 million passengers per annum (MPPA), which can be expanded to a saturation capacity of 33 MPPA, an official earlier said.
The airport has been built on the theme of sustainable infrastructure and has a solar power plant, green buildings, LED lights on the runway, rainwater harvesting, state-of-the-art sewage treatment plant with recycling facilities, among other such facilities.
It has adopted some of the best-in-class technologies like 3-D Monolithic Precast buildings, StabilRoad, Robomatic Hollow precast walls, and 5G compatible IT infrastructure.