Tourist inflow unaffected due to Dabolim closure

PTI, PANAJI | 06 April 2012 20:16 IST

The partial closure of Goa airport has not affected the tourist flow to the state as the airline companies had announced rescheduling of the fights in advance, an official said.

Director of Goa Tourism, Swapnil Naik, told PTI that there have been no flight cancellations in the wake of partial closure of the airport for annual maintenance. 

The airport is to remain closed from 7 am to 4 pm for four days from April 5-8. Indian Navy which maintains the airport has said that the closure is for the maintenance ahead of the monsoons.

Naik said that the tourism industry, so far, has not informed about any cancellations and the long weekend is attracting domestic tourists.

The airport caters to 35 flights every day besides the military sorties carried out by planes attached to INS Hansa.

Earlier in the week, the Navy, announcing the partial closure of the airstrip, had said that the planned repairs would go a long way in facilitating safe and efficient operations, especially during the monsoon. 

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One of the worst aspects of Dabolim Airport is the queuing.It is extremely detrimental and off-putting to Tourists looking to return to Goa.On a visit to Goa, I had to queue for 30 minutes (standing) to get my luggage security tagged. Thereafter I had another 40 minute wait (standing) to check-in my lugage with the airline .The worst an most painful was queuing at Immigration Control.It was a 3 and a 1/2 wait, standing in a winding queue.Therweafter there was a further 30 minute queue,going through security prior to boarding the flight.It was absolutely pathetic to see that there were only 7 Immigraton or Police officials available to control approx 1500-2000 passengers leaving Goa.There were about 700 Russian passengers,400 UK passengers going to Manchester and another 300-400 going to London Gatwick.All these 3 flights were due to leave about the same time or an hour apart from each other.Amongst the passengers were the old and elderly, and couples with little children.It was indeed shocking.Adding to the misery,there were about 300 passengers also in the lounge awaiting security clearance to board their flight to Mumbai.There was absolutely no order in the lounge.All flights were also delayed by 2-3 hours.One of the remarks I heard was , that Goa was great,but I would not return to go through the Airport queues and dis-order.Many passengers queuing for 3-4 hours,in stifling heat ant about mid-day, were getting irate and frustrated.It seems like ,the Management of the Airport and Immigration officials give a damn.They were happily sitting in their air conditioned offices, while passengers were sweating out in the lounges.Goa Airport is now become a laughing stock and a disgrace and evokes a bad impression, for not only Foreigners, but Indians and Goans too.It is badly managed and perhaps a change of Management may be a good option.Paul Manickham needs to be replaced as he seems to care a damn.He is well paid and his management skills have become outdated and stale.Lets hopr the new BJP Government and Tourist Minister will apprise of this pathetic situation.

- N.Fernandes, London | 06 th April 2012 23:59

 

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