Domestic flights resumed after two months at the Dabolim airport on Monday. However, due to lack of response from the passengers, the airport handled only three flights, much less than the expected 15, on Day 1 after the Centre announced restart of the operations.
According to airport director Gagan Malik, a total number of 95 passengers arrived in Goa, while 229 passengers departed from Dabolim.
Malik said Indigo Airlines operated two flights to Goa from Bengaluru and Delhi. “These flights together handled 255 passengers – 63 arrived in the state, while 192 departed for their destinations,” he said. The AirAsia flight, which came from Bengaluru, brought in 32 passengers to Goa, while on its return journey, it flew with 37 passengers.
“We expected 15 flights to operate from the Dabolim airport on the first day but due to various reasons among which one could be the NOTAM restrictions at the Mumbai airport, no flights were operated from Mumbai to Goa,” said Malik. He said some flights that had planned their schedule to operate at the Dabolim airport were cancelled at the last moment, possibly due to insufficient passengers. Most of the flights were supposed to arrive in Goa from Mumbai, Malik said.
Stating that major airports in the country operated with a limited number of flights on Monday, Malik said till May 30, no flights from Mumbai may arrive. “As the air transport came to a grinding halt for the last around two months due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the airlines could take some more time to resume operations on all routes,” said the airport director.
Speaking about measures adopted by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to handle passengers, Malik said the passengers underwent various checks upon landing at the airport like screening with the help of thermal scanners. “Passengers were asked to use sanitisers compulsorily for their safety. Passengers followed all the health norms after landing and prior to their departure from the Dabolim airport,” Malik said.
Explaining the standard operating procedure of the state government, the airport director said the passengers could either produce a COVID negative certificate, opt for a COVID-19 test by paying Rs 2,000 or go in for a 14-day home quarantine by stamping their hands.
Meanwhile, the app-based taxi service GoaMiles has decided to reduce the fare of intrastate service while ferrying passengers from the Dabolim airport.
“The local passengers can now travel four kilometres at Rs 99. We have cut Rs 3 per kilometre due to the COVID-19 impact. We also have started taxi operations for locals on sharing basis by maintaining social distance. This will be a win-win situation for the customers with reduced fares,” said an official of GoaMiles.