While the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport has hit an air pocket, work on the Greenfield Parule Chipi Airport in Sindhudurg, which will provide air connectivity to the Konkan and boost tourism on the coast, has begun.
Officials from the industries department said work on the airport, located in the Vengurla taluka, is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014.
They also said that the airport would enhance connectivity to Goa, parts of Western Maharashtra and North Karnataka.
An official involved with the project said, “It will provide a tremendous boost to tourism in the region. The fate of Sindhudurg, which has a high potential for tourism, will definitely change for the better after the completion of the project. In fact, I will not be surprised if the new airport manages to attract a considerable number of tourists from Goa.”
However, people flying to the Konkan from Mumbai will have to fly to Goa and then proceed to their destination from there.
“The Parule Chipi airport can cater to international flights and attract foreign tourists to the Konkan,” an official said, pointing to how the Dabolim airport in Goa had limitations on civilian flight operations as it was a defence facility and that the set up of a Greenfield airport at Mopa in North Goa was pending due to opposition.
Industries minister Narayan Rane, who hails from Sindhudurg, had strongly supported the airport, for which the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation is the nodal agency responsible.
Furthermore, the airport is expected to generate direct and indirect employment in the region, especially in sectors like hospitality, aviation and transport.
Spread over an area of over 275 hectares, the airport is located 17 km from the Mumbai- Goa highway. Being developed by IRB Sindhudurg Airport Pvt Ltd, it will be able to accommodate large planes like Boeing 737s and Airbus 310s.