PANAJI: With the first chartered flight arriving in Goa tomorrow, from Moscow, the tour operators are still wary about the uncertainty on the slot allotment at the state’s lone airport.
Heralding a tourism season, a chartered flight from Moscow will be arriving at state’s Dabolim airport early morning carrying around 500 passengers, sources from the Airports Authority of India claimed, reports PTI.
The chartered flight season which begins in October continues till the month of May. “The issue about allotment of slots to chartered flights at Goa airport is yet to be sorted out. The slot has to be allotted by Airports Authority of India (AAI) depending on which, the chartered flight agents can book the trips,” Savio Messiah, President, Tour and Travel Association of Goa (TTAG), told PTI.
He said Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has assured to look into the matter and industry is optimistic that the issue will be solved soon, which is crucial for the good tourist season.
Messiah said TTAG and tourism stakeholders have expressed their concern over non-availability of slots at Goa airport but they are yet to get back any communication.
“Initially some slots are allotted but there is uncertainty over rest (of the slots). If this continues that will certainly affect the chartered flight season. “Many of the agents in India have kept their foreign counterparts on hold for few days stopping them from cancellations,” he said.
Giving an example, he said that a chartered flight operator who is scheduled to bring in tourists from the UK has decided to cancel his trip for November due to these issues of slot.
Meanwhile, Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has said corrective steps will be taken to solve this issue. “The Chief Minister has assured that all corrective steps will be taken and issues will be resolved so that Goa has a good charter season this year.
“These timely measures will put to rest the anxiety and concerns raised by tourism stakeholders,” Ajgaonkar said. Goa, which is popular among travellers in the western countries, attracted 988 chartered flights during the tourist season lasting from October 2016 to May 2017.