Chief Minister of Goa Dr Pramod Sawant inaugurated Automatic Tray Retrieval Systems (ATRS) installed at the domestic security check of Goa airport. The system can manage around 400-600 handbags in one hour, reducing the queue at the security checkpoint.
The authorities have put four such machines in domestic and one in the international security checkpoint. The cost of one device is Rs. 2 crores. According to Gagan Malik, Airport Director, the authorities expect the new ATRS machines to bring the output of the passenger movement at security checkpoints by three times. The inauguration took place in Panaji on September 30.
While speaking to ANI, CM Sawant said, “It will be beneficial for passengers. It will help them to follow social distancing norms in view of COVID-19.”
He also spoke about his recent interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi during the inauguration. Dr. Sawant informed the COVID-19 status of Goa to the Prime Minister and talked about the benefits of Atmanirbhar Bharat package to the people of Goa.
Passenger footfall surges in Goa Airport
Goa witnessed a surge in the passenger footfall since the state dropped the restrictions on entry into it. The number of domestic flights has increased, along with the requests for slots from domestic airlines. The air connectivity between Goa and other states has improved drastically by September end.
The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to increase the capacity of Goa international airport to handle 1.3 crore passengers per year by 2022. Currently, Goa airport can manage around 50 lakhs passengers.
A Pune-based company Vascon Engineers has bagged the contract for the development works at the airport. The investment is said to be around 137 crores, and the project expects a closure in 21 months. However, Goa Pollution Control Board has kept the public hearing of the expansion work on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions on public gathering. Such a delay in hearing would result in the subsequent delay in the construction work and the deadline of completion.
The renovation works at Goa airport would include an expansion work of the existing terminal. AAI would not acquire new land for the purpose. The old terminal has already been demolished.
According to AAI, Goa airport handled 64 lakhs passengers in 2016, 70 lakhs in 2017 and 90 lakhs in March 2020.