Navy cuts sorties to allow civilian traffic at Goa airport

Panaji, Oct 28 (Calcutta Tube) In a gracious gesture, the Indian Navy, which operates Goa’s only airport, has cut its military sorties to allow the landing of five civilian aircrafts since Wednesday, said a navy press statement here Thursday.

Due to heavy fog and restricted visibility Thursday morning, pilots of a Qatar Air flight decided to divert to Shamshabad airport in Hyderabad and an Air India flight returned to Mumbai, said the statement of Commander P. Mathur.

‘Later, between 9:30 a.m. and and 10:30 a.m., which is the exclusive military flying time, both the flights returned to Dabolim (in Goa) for normal operations,’ the statement said.

A chartered flight from Amsterdam in Netherlands, scheduled to arrive at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, decided not to land at the Dabolim airport and chose to divert to Colombo. Similarly, a Jet Airways flight and a Qatar Air flight decided to divert to Mumbai and Bangalore respectively due to bad weather/visibility over the airport.

‘The Indian Navy, however, again accommodated the landing of these two flights later in the day during the exclusive military flying time zone,’ the statement said.

The official said that repairs to nearly half the length of the airport’s runway, damaged from oil spillage after a tanker carrying 6,000 litres of petroleum products overturned on the airstrip, were being carried out at full-swing and the 11,000-foot-long runway would be operational by weekend.

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