The state government is pushing hard the central authorities for limited open sky policy at the Dabolim International Airport so as to make Goa an international aviation hub and derive best results from extension of the e-visa facilities, director of tourism Amey Abhayankar has said.
Address the gathering at a function to mark the launch of direct AirAsia Berhad direct flight between Goa and Kuala Lumpur, Abhayankar further said that Goa is seeking central approval for limited open sky policy at the Dabolim airport on the lines of that extended to Kerala, which will allow Goa to get best benefit of visa liberalisation policy.
He went on to state that in case the policy is extended to Goa then it could emerge as a regional aviation hub. He said that starting of direct flight between Goa and Kuala Lumpur would provide better connectivity between the cultures and people of two regions, which have similarities like coast and forests and allow them to experience different cuisines and locations.
Chief executive officer of AirAsia Berhad Aireen Omar said that her company also has plans to offer tour packages to bring people from Asean countries to Goa and take Goans to those countries as part of better commercial activity. She said that more needed to be discovered about Goa in days ahead.
Stating that her company has had been planning to connect to Goa, the AirAsia Berhad CEO said that her company, which was co-founded by a person of Goan origin Tony Fernandes, and as such there was emotional attachment to Goa. She said that Goa has a lot of potential and that it could be fantastic place to explore India.
Omar said that Goans would now have direct access to ASEAN countries using AirAsia network, which operates 79 flights a week from Malaysia and Thailand to and from eight airports in India. “The clients could also avail fly through service to various destinations in Malaysia as well to Korea, Japan and Australia,” she said.
Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation Nilesh Cabral said that operations of direct flights from Goa to Kuala Lumpur were a welcome step which would help tourism sector between two destinations grow. He also said that there could be increase in traffic once Mopa airport became a reality.