Pune: A day after heavy rains and cloudy weather disrupted normal life in the city, the Lohegaon Airport resumed its operation Thursday morning with four domestic flights taking off for their destinations.
Nisarga cyclone made a landfall in Raigad district, around 80 kms from Pune on Wednesday evening. It had resulted in heavy rains and gusty winds all day and night making for very low visibility and halting air traffic operations completely. Six flights headed towards Pune airport had to be diverted elsewhere. Those included Delhi-Pune to Hyderabad, Hyderabad-Pune and Bengaluru-Pune to its originating destination while Jaipur-Pune flight was diverted to Surat airport. One flight on Nagpur-Pune route was cancelled.
Lohegaon Airport Director Kuldeep Singh said, "A total of 15 flights took off from Pune airport on Wednesday. In total 9 flights, 1296 passengers departed from Pune while 331 passengers arrived at Pune airport in 6 flights."
After the lockdown was imposed from March 25, air traffic was stopped countrywide. A large number of citizens were stuck in different parts of the city due to non-availability of flights. Considering this, the central and state governments permitted air traffic operations from 8 cities from April 25. Lohegaon airport authorities also got into action thereafter and arranged for 34 flights. The Airport Authority of India has also asked airlines to operate flights on route from Pune to Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Kochin.
The airport authorities have made arrangements for sanitisation of premises after arrival and departure of passenger from the facilities. Only passengers wearing masks were permitted to enter the airport premises, said Kuldeep Singh. Social distancing norms were maintained in the security check-in area and passengers were handed their boarding passes without standing in queues, he added.
'City Glide Auto' has arranged for autorickshaws for passengers arriving at the airport to drop them at their residences. Passengers can contact 9859198591 for the auto service. More than 10 thousand passengers have opted for this service in the past 9 days. The auto service is available at premium charge for passengers.
Rahul Shitole, CEO of City Glide said, "The autos arrive at the passengers’ choice of pick up point. However, the auto driver does not get passengers on his return route and hence passengers are charged twice the amount by meter reading."