IndiGo has announced the commencement of operations from the New Goa International Airport (Mopa, North Goa). Within the first year, the new airport has the potential to cater to 15 lakh customers and enhanced cargo operations, said Pieter Elbers, CEO of IndiGo. He said that the airline will explore international operations from the new airport in the future.
Addressing the media at the North Goa airport on Thursday, Elbers said that the airline sees huge potential with the opening of the second airport because it gives the airport an opportunity to expand its network and cater to more traffic. “The first airport was reaching its limits in terms of capacity, which is why the new airport was built. We believe we will be able to carry 15 lakh passengers within the first year of operations at the new airport.”
The North Goa airport has been built by GMR Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL), a wholly owned subsidiary of GMR Airports. According to officials at the airport, in Phase I, the airport will cater to around 4.4 million passengers per annum.
IndiGo will operate 168 weekly flights between Mopa and 8 domestic destinations like Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Jaipur, and Ahmedabad, right from the start on the first day of operations. The new network will cater to the increasing demand owing to the popularity of Goa as a preferred leisure travel destination and will provide more options to the customers, making travel more affordable and enhancing direct connectivity to North Goa. The present Goa Dabolim Airport in South Goa will remain active, and IndiGo continues its existing operations there.
When asked if IndiGo would reduce operations at the Dabolim airport, Elbers said, “Both airports are geographically far from each other and have the potential to cater to more passengers. We will enhance our network from both airports. There will be minor changes, but we do not have plans to reduce operations at the Dabolim airport.”
The airline has been expanding its international operations too. It has eight codeshare partnerships with international airlines. Vinay Malhotra, Head of Global Sales, said that the airline is exploring connecting more destinations through its codeshare agreements with these airlines.
“IndiGo is connecting non-metros to international destinations, and in that, we will explore international flights from Goa. We will also look at connecting the US and Canada with codeshare, he said. Whereas Elbers added, “We are waiting for our A321 XLRs to enhance our international network.”
Over the past few days, there have been incidents of unruly passengers misbehaving with the airline staff. On this matter, Elbers said that “My focus is on training our staff to deal with such situations.”
(The writer is in Goa at the invitation of Indigo)