Serene and Scenic Sands
Goa is an ever beckoning international tourist destination that has grown to become a brand name by itself. Blessed with pristine beaches and dense forests, the state nestles in the fringes of the Western Ghats and has attracted visitors since time immemorial. Its perfectly manicured towns and villages inhabited by an amiable populace has a distinctive cuisine with an emphasis on the abundantly available sea food.
Goa was liberated from Portugal in 1961 and the state still maintains a distinct culture where magnificent temples coexist harmoniously with impressive cathedrals.
Tourism is the main industry of the state involving around 40 per cent of the 1.87 million population. Apart from this, in recent times, the state has witnessed a tremendous industrial growth attracting big names from the corporate scene. The state witnesses around 1.80 million visitors annually.
HISTORY OF GOA AIRPORT
The airport was built in 1955 by the existing Portuguese administration, on 249 acres of land, as the Aeroporto de Dabolim, which was later officially renamed as Aeroporto General Bénard Guedes. Until 1961, the airport served as the main hub of the Portuguese India’s airline, TAIP, which served Daman, Diu, Karachi, Mozambique, Portuguese Timor, and other destinations, on a regular schedule. After the Liberation of Goa in 1961, the airport was ‘handed over’ to the Indian Navy.
For civilian air travel out of Vasco da Gama and Goa, the Indian Navy and the Government of India invited the public sector airline to operate at Dabolim from 1966, after the runway was repaired and jetenabled. A new domestic terminal building was built in 1983, designed to process 350 arrivals and departures simultaneously; while the international terminal, built in 1996 was designed for 250.
With an increase in runway length in 1986, wide-bodied charter flights began direct operations from Europe and, over the years, the number of such charter holiday flights has grown substantially.
In view of the exponential growth in air traffic, a state-of-the-art integrated terminal building was built and commissioned in 2013, and has been operational since March 2014. The building design modelled on the ‘waves’ concept features aesthetic glass, large steel span structures and frameless glazing. It is equipped with five aerobridges, while three more are on the way of being
commissioned. The terminal features aesthetic and roomy interiors with 64 check-in counters and an adequate number of immigration counters for arrivals as well as departures, security check booths and customs counters. The basement of the four-level terminal has utilities like electricity and cargo handling. The checkin counters are placed on the ground floor while the first floor has security check booths. The second floor has the Security Hold Area where passengers may wait before boarding an aircraft.
NEW INITIATIVES Parallel taxi track: This facility will significantly reduce runway occupancy time and bring down arrival and departure wait time. New Western Finger to Terminal Building:
This extension to the main building has appreciably boosted passenger capacity and three aerobridges installed in the finger have increased the aircraft docking capacity. Extension of Security Hold Area: The area of the Domestic Security Hold has been extended with an adequate seating capacity to cater to peak time movement hours. Also, more spacious washrooms, more seating area and a choice of varied cuisine food outlets in the Security Hold Area is adding to the passengers’ comfort.
Pre-security layout: A new layout before the security check will reduce wait time and quicken the process of clearing security.
Extension of main building on eastern side: A lateral extension of the main building on the eastern side is on the cards to cater to the anticipated traffic level. This will provide a considerable increase in passenger handling capacity for managing the present and the expected level of air traffic for the next few years.
Goa is a vibrant tropical land where both the sublime as well as the contrasting colours of nature and architecture play a vivid role in enhancing the Sense of Place. AAI has attempted to transpose this colourful medley and fusion of colours in the form of murals, art displays and paintings at various
locations in the Terminal Building. In fact, the pre-security area features a delightful corner Art Gallery designed to lend an expression to the building while paying tribute to the talented artists of Goa.
GOA CHARTER: GATEWAY OF INDIA
Around 90 per cent of the international charter flights that touch India operate out of Goa, earning it the nickname — ‘Charter Gateway’. Around 1000 wide-bodied aircraft were operational during the last tourist season directly from European destinations – primarily Moscow, Germany and the UK – while there is also a growing interest in the concept of such holiday package flights from Iran, Dubai and other countries. This year also, around 1000 charters are expected to operate from Goa.
ENHANCING PASSENGER CONVENIENCE
With an objective of improving overall efficiency of airport operations for the benefit of passengers and other stakeholders, the Airport Operations Control Center (AOCC) and a helpdesk was inaugurated at the Goa International Airport, rcently.
Goa Airport has become the 12th airport to have an AOCC. This centre will provide real-time information about flights like the actual time of Arrival/ Departure, boarding gate number for departing passengers and baggage conveyor number for arriving passengers on the Flight Information Displays. It will also help AAI, airline operators and ground handling agencies to ensure the optimum utilisation of available resources.
In another effort to add new facilities for better passenger facilitation, AAI has awarded an expenditure contract for the operation and management of helpdesk and Reserve Lounges at the Goa Airport. A dedicated helpdesk/ Information Counter will have Flight Information Display and Computer System, which will provide the latest flight information and assistance to visitors during their travel through the Goa International Airport. This helpdesk will also supervise the operations of airlines as well as the ground handling agencies at the airport. A dedicated round-the-clock helpline number will also be launched soon.
In view of the immense potential of cargo operations from Goa International Airport, AAI recently commissioned a Common User Cargo facility for channeling domestic cargo, which has evoked considerable response. International cargo is channeled by CONCOR. The main cargo movements comprise of industrial components, electronic peripherals, pharmaceuticals and local varieties of fruit and vegetables for export.
COMMITMENT TOWARDS SOCIETY
Keeping up AAI’S commitment of providing assistance towards ensuring better medical facilities and generating awareness on Cancer, especially Cervical Cancer, a ‘Free Women’s Wellness Camp’ was organised by AAI’S Women’s Welfare Association – Kalyanmayee in association with Manipal Hospitals Goa and Goa Cancer Society, in the month of February. The camp was inaugurated by Anjali Mohapatra, President, Kalyanmayee in the presence of Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra, Chairman, AAI and other senior officials. The objective of the Wellness Camp was to create awareness and educate the public on timely medical intervention to detect Cancer. During the camp, participants underwent a Free Random Blood Sugar Test, Blood Pressure Check, screening by the Resident Medical Officers, after which, the women in the age bracket of 30 to over 50 years who displayed signs of symptomatic positive cases of Cervical Cancer were referred by the Radiation Oncologist to Manipal Hospitals Goa for a Free Pap Smear Test.
Goa International Airport has focussed on multifaceted growth by emphasising on both structural and societal development. Being home to India’s favourite holiday destination – it is certain to touch greater heights in the coming years.
B C H Negi, B E (Electronics), MBA-HR, IAP Airport Director, Goa
Inauguration of new Aerobridges at Goa Airport
Security Hold Area
Air-side view, Terminal Building, Goa International Airport
Art Gallery Camp, Goa Airport Free Women’s Wellness
(centre), Chairman, Dr. Guruprasad Mohapatra during the inauguration AAI, with senior officials Control Centre of Airport Operations