Congress MP raises concern over shifting of airlines from Dabolim

Panaji, June 21 (IANS) Congress South Goa MP, Viriato Fernandes said on Friday that he will raise the issue of Dabolim Airport in Parliament to stop airlines from shifting to the new Manohar International Airport in North Goa.

“There are concerted attempts by the government to close down Dabolim Airport (in South Goa). Today Qatar Airways shifted to Mopa. If airlines keep on shifting to Mopa, then there will be no operations here.

“Directly and indirectly thousands of stakeholders are dependent on this airport. Along with hotels, cabs all will suffer,” Fernandes said.

He said that there will be an impact on the economy of South Goa if Dabolim Airport is closed down.

“Airlines are shifting to Mopa. Only crony capitalists who have purchased properties at Mopa will benefit. I will raise this question in Parliament,” he said.

Speaking to IANS, Dabolim Airport Director, SVT Dhanamjaya Rao, said that Qatar Airways had informed about its plans to shift.

“I will have to check their letter and only then I will be in a position to make a statement about their exit from here,” Rao said.

According to Opposition parties, Qatar Airways had announced plans to shift its operations to Manohar International Airport in North Goa from June 2024 by discontinuing services at Dabolim Airport.

Earlier Rao had said, “Qatar Airways has taken its own decision. We respect their decision. Last financial year we handled 8.4 million passengers, this year we expect 7 million, around 15 to 20 per cent difference (reduction). Dabolim Airport will remain operational. Most of the chartered flights are operated from here only. Dabolim Airport will survive as it has potential.”

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has also on many occasions clarified that both airports in Goa will operate as the footfall of tourists is increasing.

–IANS

sbk/rad

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