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Goa boosts airport capacity, slashes fuel tax
Shekhar Niyogi, New Delhi, December 11, 2013

GOA International Airport opened a new integrated 64,000m2 terminal last week, adding to high-season capacity with its handling of 1,000 international chartered flights.

Goa accounts for 90 per cent of all chartered flights into India. The terminal is expected to be fully operational in January 2014.

The terminal can handle both domestic and international operations, equipped with state-of-the-art facilities. It can handle 2,750 peak-hour passengers at a time. Visa on arrival is expected to be issued from January next year.

Ajit Singh, India’s minister of civil aviation, said: “The expansion and upgrade of Goa airport are significant due to the expected high passenger traffic.”

From April 2012 to March 2013, Goa airport handled 1,208 charter flights, an increase of 45 per cent year-on-year. Trade sources expect similar growth this year.

Meanwhile, plans for a new airport at Mopa have been submitted for central government approval. The airport is likely to be operational only in 2020.

Arun Verma, managing director, Allways Marketing & Travel Services, lamented the slow development pace. He said: “Goa airport is saturated, and a new airport with capacity to accommodate projected arrivals in the next five years should be commissioned immediately.”

In a bid to catalyse aviation growth, the Goa government has reduced VAT on air turbine fuel from 22 to 12 per cent. According to the state’s chief minister, Manohar Parrikar, it will be further slashed to five per cent in 2014.

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