Initiate land acquisition for second airport: AAI to govt
Requests State to begin process as Pune airport handling more than its capacity
Pune: The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has requested the State Government to start the process of acquisition of land for the second airport in Pune.
Some of the cities that require second airports are Pune, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Patna, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru. Pune’s airport based at Lohegaon is now expanding its terminal building as it is handling passengers way beyond capacity.
The State Government in October 2016 announced the new airport for Pune in Purandar, around 45 km away from the city. Since then, there has not been much development in connection with the land acquisition process and finalisation of the compensation model for the people who have parted with their land. AAI Chairman Guruprasad Mohapatra said, “The State Government’s are being requested to identify suitable size land for secondary airports and notify height restrictions in those place.” However, aviation experts said that the move by the Central government to build secondary airports at cities with growth potential is a forward-thinking and timely decision.
“Due to want of a second airport, Pune has been experiencing the economic setback due to its absence as the city continuous to wait for a full-fledged modern second airport for almost two decades now,” said aviation expert Dhairyashil Vandekar. “While Lohegaon airport which is shared with the defence has served the city to its capacity, it cannot cater to the actual needs and high demands of the city which has emerged as a globally preferred business and industrial destination. Even with the present expansion of the terminal building and apron being carried out, it at the most will suffice for the next few years after which the passengers may then have to face the same hassles that they are facing today at Lohegaon airport due to severe space and capacity constraints,” he said.
“The city desperately needs a modern 24x7 independent civil airport that can do full justice to its international city image. While the present government raised the hopes of Punekars by finalising the site for the second airport at Purandar the mega Lok Sabha elections had put the project in cold storage understandably for electoral reasons,” he said.
He felt that now is the time to respond to Pune’s trust in the government. “The government must now fast track the project and ensure its completion by 2022,” Vandekar said.