The construction of the Mopa airport located in the North Goa district is 75 percent complete, according to Goa’s state director of civil aviation Sunil Shanbhogue. "Work on connectivity from the runway to the passenger terminal is underway,” he told the media recently.
The Mopa airport is being built by GMR Group’s special purpose vehicle Goa International Airport Limited (GGIAL). Airports Authority of India (AAI) has already received the handover of the technical building. Air traffic control (ATC) is slated to receive the handover of the building next week.
Recruited staff too has been sent to Uttar Pradesh and Hyderabad for training in baggage screening, airport rescue and firefighting.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to inaugurate the airport on August 15, 2022, 76th Independence Day.
Why is it in the news?
Goa’s only existing airport in Dabolim is located in a military airfield owned by the Indian Navy. The combined flow of civilian and military traffic on the single-runway increases the airside congestion. The Mopa airport aims at enhancing Goa’s connectivity by air, by aiding the flow of civilian traffic to the state.
The total cost of building the airport reached Rs 2,615 crore due to delays in court proceedings which included judicial stay orders on the construction owing to the project’s environmental impact. On January 16, 2020, however, the Supreme Court upheld the project’s Environmental Clearance allowing construction to resume. Later on, the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic hindered the construction process.
Mopa airport which is being built under the BOT model (Build, Operate and Transfer) will be operated through GGIAL by GMR for a period of 40 years, extendable by 20 years, as per broad lease agreements.
Impact on Goan economy
The coastal state of Goa is famous for its beaches and attracts tourists from across the world. The construction of the Mopa airport can drastically increase the number of tourists which in turn can unlock Goa’s real-estate potential.
“On an average, properties in Goa can yield 12-16 percent returns annually. Competitive real estate prices, when compared to metro cities of India, is yet another major reason why investing in a holiday home in Goa seems to be a profitable option,” said Shephali Kapoor in a signed post on 99acres.com, a real estate portal.
Mopa airport’s location also enhances North Goa’s real estate capabilities as it is better developed and has tons of recreational options and tourist attractions, thereby offering better rental and resale rates.
According to a report by Savills India, a real estate consultancy, Goa seems to be the top choice for Indians looking for a second home. Almost a fifth of the respondents who were part of the survey indicated an interest in buying a second home in Goa.It remains to be seen whether this real-estate demand can help the economy of the state which has been hurt badly by the COVID-19 pandemic. For sure, the new airport will aid the Go Goa quest.