Pune Airport Authority seeks tag of ‘International Airport’
The Pune Airport Authority (PAA) in Lohegaon is working on the expansion of the new terminal building but the airport still does not have the tag of an ‘International Airport’. Now, PAA is seeking the same from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Once the airport gets the tag, foreign airlines will be able to start operations from Pune, said Ajay Kumar, Director of Pune airport.
Pune: The Pune Airport Authority (PAA) in Lohegaon is working on the expansion of the new terminal building but the airport still does not have the tag of an ‘International Airport’. Now, PAA is seeking the same from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Once the airport gets the tag, foreign airlines will be able to start operations from Pune, said Ajay Kumar, Director of Pune airport.
Pune Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Shirole and Ajay Kumar held a press conference on Saturday giving information about development of the airport in the last few months as well the future plan.
Shirole said, ‘‘PAA initially had made a land allotment of 26 acre. In April 2018, after the continuous follow-up, 16 acres belonging to the defence ministry was provided. We need about 35 acres more for building cargo parking along with administrative and residential purpose. I am following this issue with the State government and am hopeful about it. I have received similar support from Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.”
He added, “The expansion of the terminal building has also been undertaken. This will add 42,000 square metres of area to the existing campus. Till 2014, the total land holding of Pune airport was 26 acres. Now, with addition of 16 acres in April 2018, it has gone up to 42 acres and we are working to get more land. We need an additional area of 35 acres for setting up of cargo parking and to create new offices and residential buildings. I am following up on the issue and I’m hopeful about it. I have written to Central ministers about it.”
Kumar said that considering the increase in airport’s capacity in last few years, the administration is now looking at obtaining the status of an ‘international airport’ tag which will pave way for introduction of more international flights.
In India, airports are classified in three different categories namely domestic, customs and international airports. Customs airports are those which have custom and immigration facilities for limited international operations by national carriers and for foreign tourist and cargo charter flights. These include Gaya, Patna, Madurai, Pune, Bagdogra, Chandigarh and Visakhapatnam.
“Pune Airpot is a customs airport. At present, we have only three international flights. Only one international carrier has a permission for operation (Lufthansa) which was granted as an exception. Once, we get an international airport status, it will be much easier for international carriers to operate international flights from Pune. Airlines like Vistara, Jet Airways and Indigo who operate international flights approached for providing slots for the summer schedule. We are expecting that flights will start from April 2019,” Kumar said.
From December 1, Jet Airways is going to start flight from Pune to Singapore. The Pune airport already operates four international flights including two for Dubai, one for Abu Dhabi and one for Frankfurt.
“At present, 200 movements happen from the Pune Airport. Of these, 100 movements happen during the day and 100 during the night. We want to increase the number during the day and hence, have sent a proposal to add 20 movements during the day considering the increased capacity due to apron expansion,” said Kumar.
Future plans for building
An expanded terminal building will be constructed with an investment of about Rs 420 crore and will have a basement and two floors. It will have parking bays for aircraft and multi-level car parking. “The building will have all state of the art facilities including five aero-bridges, eight escalators, waiting lounges, and 15 lifts. The airport building will be connected to rest of the city with Metro and Maha Metro is preparing a project report,” said Kumar.