Pune: The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s dream project UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) is now appearing to be a distant dream for Punekars, as the service from Nashik to Pune has been again grounded despite the Airport Authority of India (AAI) providing all support.
The work on the Nashik-Pune-Nashik service, which was started in December 2017 by Air Deccan, was stopped after three months and was again resumed last month.
AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said, “The operator is not operating in an established way and the issue is with them (the bidder) and not with the Pune or Nashik airports. The Civil Aviation Ministry is looking into the matter.”
Mohapatra chaired a performance review meeting of airport directors (APDs) in Western Region, which was attended by senior officials from regional headquarters in Mumbai as well as APDs from various airports in the region. Among those present were Keshava Sharma, Regional Executive Director, Western Region, Pune Airport Director Ajay Kumar, Ahmedabad Airport Director Manoj Gangal.
Mohapatra told Sakal Times, “Issues that led to Pune-Nashik UDAN project being grounded are of the airline’s bidding and the AAI has provided all the support for the service. The regional connectivity scheme was faring well with as many as 30 airports in the country now being connected.”
The Pune-Nashik service was among the first few services started under the UDAN scheme with Air Deccan commencing operations on December 23, 2017. Air Deccan had also won the bid to operate from smaller airports such as Ozar (Nashik), Kolhapur, Jalgaon and Solapur. The airline had initially planned to operate seven days a week in the evening hours.
It continued for about five months, but the operations were suspended from April 20 reportedly due to lack of clearance from the Defence Ministry. In June, the airline said they had received clearance from the MoD and would restart the Pune-Nashik operations from June 21. The operations, however, did not commence.
He said that UDAN scheme was facing issues with smaller airlines while major airlines, which started RCS flight, were doing fine.
“There seems to be a problem with a couple of airlines such as Air Deccan and another airline.
Mainstream airlines are finding it easier to operate. However, smaller airlines, which are coming into business without much experience, are struggling,” Mohapatra told Sakal Times.
Work of Purandar airport
Mohapatra told Sakal Times, “The New Greenfield Airport for Pune in Purandar is under process and the requisite permissions from the Defence Ministry have been obtained and the ball is in the State government’s court. We have obtained all permissions about the location and alignment of the runway from the Ministry of Defence. It is now the responsibility of the Maharashtra government to start land acquisition.”