Panaji: The travel and tourism industry in Goa on Saturday welcomed the new charter flight policy unveiled by the civil aviation ministry, calling it flexible and that it would help tour operators cut costs and offer benefits to tourists.

“The policy has made several landmark changes which include properly defining all players in the charter flight operations. It has also offered flexibility to charter companies, which will enable them to plan their tours quickly and with fewer formalities,” Travel and Tourism Association of Goa president Francisco Braganza told IANS.

Braganza, whose association comprises top representatives of the industry in Goa, said the policy would also help charter operators to up their cost benefit ratio.

“Earlier, when they flew in with a charter plane with tourists, the plane had to return empty. The policy now enables charter companies to allow a different set of tourists, so the seating capacity of the airplane is fully utilised and losses are lessened,” Braganza said.

A bulk of charter flight tourists to Goa hail from Russia and Britain. Around two lakh foreign tourists arrive in Goa by charter flights every year.

Braganza said the charter policy’s withdrawal of monopoly to Air India as the only ground handling agent would also help cut down tour package costs, because of the high fees charged by the government-run company.

“The opening of ground handling agent services to the private sector will significantly cut down costs of flying charter planes to Indian airports because Air India’s fees were extremely high,” he said.

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