The Dabolim Airport is one of the most popular in India, owing to the fact that Goa is a popular tourist destination. A large number of foreign visitors frequent the airport, and the international terminal is quite busy at all times. Goa being a small state, it is located quite close to a few cities. Vasco da Gama is situated 23 kilometres away, and Panjim is situated about 30 kilometres from the airport. It has an integrated terminus and handled 76 lakh passengers between March 2017 and March 2018. A strong military and naval presence has called for the need of a second airport, which is being constructed at Mopa. It is estimated that it will be completed by 2020. If you were recently looking at Delhi to Goa Flights Schedule, this airport would be the one you get off at.
Built way back in 1955, by the Portuguese, the airport was originally known as Aeroporto de Dabolim. Until the year 1961, it was the main hub for the TAIP, also known as TransportesAereos da India Portuguesa, a Portuguese Indian airline. During the infamous annexation of Goa by the Indian Air Force, a large part of the infrastructure of the airport was destroyed.
The Indian Navy then stormed the airport and took it under their control. It was operated in conjunction with the Government of India. The runway was repaired in 1966, and some airlines were invited to serve here. In 1983, a domestic terminal was constructed and could process 350 arrivals and departures. More than a decade later, in 1996, an international terminal to handle 250 arrivals and departures was designed.
The Civil aviation Ministry announced in 2006 that there was a plan to upgrade the Dabolim Airport. A new international terminal was to be constructed, and the present one would be transformed into a domestic terminal. An area of about 10 acres was allotted for more aircraft stands and hangars.
The plan to modernise the Goa airport was one of the thirty-five expansion project plans undertaken by the AAI. In terms of the finance and size involved, it was the 3rd largest out of the 35, behind only Kolkata and Chennai. A multi-level car parking facility is also planned, allowing about 550-600 cars to be parked. The expansion of the older international complex was also done and was finally inaugurated in December 2013.
In 2005, a total of almost a million passengers had travelled through the airport. The daily average was calculated at 3467 passengers. In the year 2006, 2.2 million passengers are estimated to have visited, which increased to 2.6 million the following year. The Dabolim airport has been ranked as the top ten busiest airports in the country.
Presently, Goa has around 1200 international flights every year. This accounts for an astonishing 90% of the country’s international chartered tourist flights. Approximately 350,000 foreign tourists are believed to come to Dabolim airport on chartered flights. In 2013-2014, around 300,000 tourists reached Goa from the UK, and another 50,000 came from Russia. Goa accounts for almost 10% of the national figure for foreign visitors.