There hardly is any airport in the country which commenced operations with promised timelines and Sindhudurg is no exception to it! Sindhudurg – nestled near the seashore in the picturesque Konkan region of Maharashtra will see daily flights to Mumbai starting October 09, 2021. Alliance Air – the subsidiary of Air India will operate the flights.
The airport was scheduled to start in 2011. IRB Infrastructure was awarded the contract in August 2009, with a concession period of 95 years and construction period of 18 months.
This comes two years after a test flight landed at the airport along with the idol of Ganesha in 2018. The airport is located at Parule Chipi between Malvan and Vengurla. The airport would act as a gateway to Tarkarli beach and Sindhudurg fort – which are minutes away and would give a huge boost to the tourism potential of the region. Sindhudurg airport will also give easy access to tourists to North Goa where the beaches of Tiracol, Arambol and Mandrem are equidistant from Goa’s Dabolim airport.
The airport has a 2,500 meter runway with a terminal to handle 400 passengers per hour. The green field airport has been constructed by IRB Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd and has seen considerable challenges until being certified last week.
Sindhudurg is primarily an agri economy based district and tourism has been slow to pick up. Since the district borders Goa, more often than not the district loses out to its neighbour.
Alliance Air / Air India regional will operate ATR 72-600 aircraft – the only aircraft it has in its fleet, between Mumbai and Sindhudurg.
9I661 BOM1135 – 1300SDW
9I662 SDW1325 – 1450BOM
These timings clash with the Bhavnagar flight of the airline and with just one aircraft operating out of Mumbai, it needs to be seen on how the airline balances Bhavnagar operations or withdraws completely from Bhavnagar. Interestingly, SpiceJet recently launched flights to Bhavnagar.
RCS-UDAN has ensured multiple new airports and regions are on the air map. Sindhudurg joins the list, though late! Sindhudurg airport will have multiple airports in the region. Kolhapur, Belgaum, Hubli, Sindhudurg and Dabolim – Goa. The MOPA airport will be added to the list and there will be an airport within every 150 kilometers in the region.
The MOPA airport is much larger than Sindhudurg and there is a serious risk that MOPA will attract all the traffic which otherwise would have been destined for Sindhudurg. The airport at Sindhudurg is likely to remain marginalized with flights under RCS-UDAN for most of the foreseeable future.