Centre waives rules for new Goa airport

The union cabinet yesterday approved a second airport for Goa. The greenfield project will come up at Mopa in north Goa, 80 km from the existing airport at Dabolim. Both airports will function side by side.

For this, the cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has waived the current airport policy that does not allow an airport to come up within a 150-km radius of an existing airport. This policy was one of the reasons cited for closure of the old airports in Bangalore and Hyderabad when the new airports were opened there. But an exception is being made for Goa.

''Goa will have two airports - one in the north and another in south Goa. There is no change in the existing government policy on construction of airports,'' minister for information and broadcasting Ambika Soni told newspersons after the cabinet meeting in New Delhi. An official statement said that both the airports will handle domestic and international passengers.

The statement said that the decision to have two airports has been taken after several representations were made to a six-member committee constituted to examine the issue.

''The committee got a fresh study conducted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation on the possibility of co-existence of both Dabolim and Mopa airports. The study revealed that it was possible to operate both the airports with equitable distribution of traffic between them,'' it said.

The Goa government will now have to start work on the construction of the airport which is to be built on a 'build-own-operate-transfer' (BOOT) basis. A private entity will be selected through a global tendering process to construct the airport.