Pune: The Pune airport is one of the fastest growing airports among the 28 airports under the Western Region Headquarters of Airport Authority of India (AAI) in terms of passenger movement in the year 2018-19. The airport has recorded a growth of about 29 per cent in June.
AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra was in the city recently to review the performance of airports in the western region. He emphasised that passenger growth in Pune region was promising and was a result of the recent expansion of passenger amenities and the addition of new flights.
“Pune Airport is growing, both in terms of revenue and passenger handling. I must compliment them for the growth and constant improvement that the airport has seen in the last few years. We have seen a noticeable improvement in passenger amenities. The growth is praiseworthy, especially considering that they have a complete embargo on daytime flights and all the new additions are happening at night,” Mohapatra told Sakal Times.
Mohapatra also appreciated that Pune is top among these airports of western region in terms of revenue generation.
He said, “The performance of Pune airport in terms of revenue recorded high growth in the past three years. The facilities provided to the passengers in these years are remarkable,” he said.
Officials said that the number of daily movements has now touched 200 per day from 158 movements last year. At this rate, the airport is expected to cross 10 million per annum passenger mark in the ongoing year. In 2017-18 fiscal, the airport had recorded a passenger growth of 20.6 per cent.
Mohapatra, however, cautioned that the growth number was a result of the low base levels and are difficult to sustain. “The passenger number is growing at 29 per cent in the ongoing year. These are highly unsustainable rates. Personally, for selfish reasons, I want them to come down and stabilise because these are very difficult rates to maintain in the long run. The appetite is always initially more and then becomes stable,” said Mohapatra.
As per a global ASQ (Airport Service Quality) survey held in March in the sub-category of airports handling 5 to 15 million passengers per year, Pune was preceded by Kolkata and Ahmedabad airports in the ranking.
This is a remarkable feat considering that Pune airport is the only airport among top airports handling more than 5 million passengers per annum, operating with Code C aircraft. All other airports are capable of handling bigger aircraft. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the aircraft with a wingspan of more than 24 m but less than 36 m consisting of aeroplanes, such as BOEING 737-700, AIRBUS A-320 and EMBRAER ERJ 190-100, are considered C code aircraft.
Contract for expansion soon
AAI has floated a tender worth Rs 383.97 crore for expansion of the terminal building, which will double the passenger handling capacity of Pune Airport. It involves the construction of the new building towards the eastern side of the existing terminal building, reconstruction of the existing terminal building and some modifications. The work is expected to take six months to complete after the award of the contract. Once expanded, the total area of the terminal building will be 64,300 square metres.