Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Target sky high, but airport ground reality miffs flyers

Pune: Avijit Ghosh is still fuming even after 24 hours since the IndiGo flyer landed here late Sunday evening.
“The take-off from Kolkata was late by 30 minutes. On reaching Pune, we had to wait in the aircraft for about 45 minutes at the parking bay. It took another 30 minutes to receive the check-in luggage. This 2-hour delay is frustrating,” he told TOI on Monday.
In her tweet to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) on Monday, Umang Agrawal said, “Burning up at Pune airport. No electricity. Seems like generator is only for tubelights.” When urged for more details, she said, “We were there for around one-and-a-half hours at the Pune airport and nothing was working.”
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Even as the Pune airport is eyeing new highs in the sky in terms of more flights and passenger traffic, flyers are miffed with the situation on the ground. Aviation experts feel that the growth story is not balanced, leading to instances of flyers waiting in aircraft for long after landing or at the boarding gates.
Airport officials said the facility at Lohegaon was growing at 20% every year. But the experts said the lack of basic facilities and uncertainty about the deadline of some big projects were a big worry.
“It is like biting more than one can chew. Growth is important. But the growth at the Pune airport needs to be controlled. The basic services and facilities have failed to keep pace with the rate the passenger traffic and flight movements have gone up. This is causing problems for all — the airport authorities, airlines and the flyers,” aviation analyst Dhairyashil Vandekar said.
17/04/18 Joy Sengupta/Times of India