Goa International Airport is currently the state's only airport (a second airport is under construction in Mopa in North Goa). It's a government-run airport that operates out of a military base called INS Hansa. The airport handled about 8.5 million passengers in 2019, making it the 9th busiest airport in India.
Goa Airport Code, Location, and Contact Information
Goa International Airport (GOI) is situated in Dabolim, between north and south Goa. It's approximately 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the state's capital city, Panjim.
Know Before You Go
Goa Airport has one integrated international and domestic terminal, which was inaugurated in Dec. 2013. The terminal is undergoing refurbishment and expansion. It has already exceeded its capacity, and gets overcrowded during peak times from 12.30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and early mornings when international flights arrive. The airport is closed from 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. five days a week, as military flight training is carried out there.
Although Goa Airport is an international airport, the bulk of flights are domestic flights from major Indian cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Chennai. The international flights are mostly charter flights from Europe and the UK during the tourist season, from October to March. Air India, Air Arabia, and Qatar Airways have a few regular flights to and from Gulf countries as well.
Being a government-run airport on a military airbase, the airport has basic infrastructure and facilities (although these are being improved). Long, slow-moving lines are standard at security checks during peak times. Three new air bridges were commissioned in Jan. 2018 to reduce the use of shuttle buses to ferry passengers between the aircraft and terminals. As the security hold area for departing passengers is on the top floor of the terminal, you'll need to go back down to board a shuttle bus to your aircraft if it's not parked at an air bridge. A new parallel taxiway became operational in late 2019 to ease flight delays, and inline baggage scanners were finally installed in the airport terminal in early 2020 (this eliminates the need for the manual scanning of baggage before check-in). Kohler has installed state-of-the-art designer restrooms in the terminal as well.
Goa Airport has a couple of State Bank of India (SBI) ATMs. One is located inside the departures hall. The other is outside the arrivals hall.
There's no luggage storage facility.
Limited parking is available at Goa Airport and is charged in two-hour slots. The cost is 20 rupees (around 25 cents) for motorcycles and 85 rupees ($1.20) for cars. There are no long-term parking rates. A new multi-level parking space was completed in 2015 but is yet to start operating due to management issues. However, most tourists take taxis and shouldn't require parking.
Goa Airport is easily accessible without a lot of traffic. It's directly connected to the new, four-lane National Highway 566. This highway intersects with National Highway 66, which runs all the way from north to south Goa. If you're heading north, you can get onto National Highway 366 from National Highway 566, and then turn left onto National Highway 66. A new overpass in Panjim means you no longer have to go through the city. Travel time from the airport to Panjim is about 45 minutes to an hour. Travel time to Arambol beach, in the far north, is about two hours. Travel time to Palolem beach, in the far south, is about an hour and a half.
Transportation and Taxis
Prepaid taxi is the most convenient and common form of transportation at Goa Airport. You'll see a counter at the arrivals hall where you can book and pay. Unfortunately, the Goan taxi mafia keeps fares high and prevents app-based cabs such as Uber from operating. Expect the fare to be about 1,800 rupees ($25) to Arambol beach, 1,300 rupees ($18) to Baga beach, and 1,900 rupees ($27) to Palolem beach. There's an extra night charge of 35 percent from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
If you're traveling during peak season in December or January, you might not be able to get a prepaid taxi straight away. In this case, hiring a private taxi may be a better option. There is a state-run, app-based taxi service called GoaMiles. Alternatively, an inexpensive shuttle bus service runs from the airport to Panjim, Calangute, and Margao (the main city in South Goa). It can be booked online here or at the airport. The cost is 100 rupees ($1.41) one way. Cheaper and more frequent public buses go to Vasco da Gama near the airport. From there it's possible to take another public bus to Panjim, and then onward to north Goa's beaches.
Where to Eat and Drink
Goa Airport's dining facilities are being revamped as part of the renovation. The responsibility for food and beverages was outsourced to a private company in 2018, and various new outlets have since opened. These include Good Times Bar, KFC, Subway, Cafe Coffee Day, Wow Momos, and Goan culinary brand Mario’s Kitchen. There's also a restaurant called the Port Lounge.
Where to Shop
The responsibility for retail outlets at Goa Airport has also been outsourced. The newly expanded range of shops focuses on clothing and accessories brands, including Lee Cooper, Eske Paris, Ceriz, Da Milano, Sunglass Hut, Hidesign leather goods, John's Umbrellas, Biba, W for Women, Nirvana. There are also some handicraft shops such as Craftsvilla and the Mario Gallery (selling the works of Goan cartoonist and illustrator Mario Miranda), and souvenir shops such as Goa Store. Plus, Bipha Ayurveda for wellness.
Goa Airport doesn't have any dedicated airport lounges. The new Good Times Bar, which opened in 2019 opposite gates D and E in the domestic departures area, serves as the lounge for selected card holders. The Port Lounge is now closed.
How to Spend Your Layover
There are no rest zones, showers, or accommodations at Goa Airport. If you have some spare time before your flight or want to stay close to the airport, your best bet is Bogmallo beach only 10 minutes away. Bogmallo Beach Resort is the closest luxury hotel to the airport, and it's situated right on the beach. Day packages (priced at 1,299 rupees per person, or 1,999 rupees for a couple) and airport transfers are available. Buffet lunch, one beer, Wireless Internet, and use of the swimming pool are part of the package. There are other guesthouses, beach shacks, and restaurants in the area. Joet's Bar and Restaurant is the best place to hang out on the beach (they have a few guest rooms as well). Claudi's Corner cafe, SWINg! By the Bay, and John Seagull are popular too.
Goa Airport has an O2 spa inside the terminal. It offers massages, facials, and nail treatments.
WiFi and Charging Stations
Wireless Internet is available at Goa Airport. It's free for the first 30 minutes. To use it, you'll need to register your cell phone number and receive a code. Don't rely on being able to use a charging station, as there are only a few, and they're not always working.