In the midst of a steady rise in air traffic demand, the Indian Navy wants the number of civilian flights allowed at the Goa Airport to be halved. The navy has sighted the requirement of airspace and facility for military exercise for drastically reducing the number of flights. The Goa international airport, the only airport in the state, is a naval facility where state owned AAI operates a civil enclave offering a few flying slots to airlines. Carriers such as IndiGo and Spice Jet have taken the matter to nodal aviation Ministry. They have argued that this forced reduction would render their capacity unutilized besides triggering a hike in airfare to this popular tourist destination. The airlines claimed that Delhi – Goa round-trip could double to 25,000 in case flight frequency is reduced.
Goa is one of the few international airports that have witnessed high double digit growth in the past few years. As per the latest data compiled by Airports Authority of India (AAI), the Goa Airport saw 33.54 lakh passengers flying to and fro from Goa in the first eight months of FY 17 registered a growth of 27.9 per cent. Most of the airlines, including Vistara and Air Asia India, have mounted flights to Goa, which is famous for its beaches. It receives nearly 30 Lakh visitors every year out of which 3.42 lakh are foreign tourists.