Pune: The The Indian Air Force (IAF) has finally given a green signal to Purandar International Airport and following this nod, Airports Authority of India (AAI) will soon start the project, said AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra on Friday.
The ambitious project which was announced in October 2016, was stuck with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), New Delhi. A five-member team will soon visit Purandar to conduct a survey, Mohapatra told Sakal Times.
Mohapatra was in Pune for a regional review meeting which was attended by 28 airport directors from the western region. KL Sharma, Executive Director, Western Region Headquarters, Mumbai, Ajay Kumar, Director, Pune airport, Manoj Kumar Gangal, Director Ahmedabad airport, among others, attended this meeting.
“The IAF has given a nod to start the project two days ago. The Purandar airport is the much needed second airport for Pune. We were waiting for a green signal from them since last year. There were some technical issues which have been sorted out. We will send a team to re-visit Purandar and after that, the team will submit a report,” said Mohapatra.
Following the State government’s announcement of a new airport in Purandar taluka, the Indian Air Force (IAF) had raised some objections on technical grounds. Following this, AAI started a re-survey, mainly on the alignment of the runway. Defence officials had also raised some concerns over take-off and landing, the location of the runway and other technical issues at this proposed site for the international airport. Accordingly, a fresh survey was conducted by both defence and MADC officials separately.
Dhairyashil Vandekar, an aviation expert and analyst, said that this decision should now provide a momentum to the delayed Greenfield airport project at Purandar. He added, “While many were critical of the IAF for the delay in providing NOC, this grave issue should have been foreseen and taken up earlier by the State government and other agencies.
“They should have made the announcements only after carrying out operational and technical feasibility survey.” Vandekar added that this was not done, it created confusion as ministers and government officials announced different timelines about the completion of Purandar airport.