Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Pune airport seeks international status

Pune: The Pune Airport at Lohegaon air base is seeking an international airport status from the civil aviation ministry. This will enable more international flights to operate out of Pune. The airport is set to fly 12 million passengers next year with the number of flights increasing to 57,000 per year from 30,543 currently while cargo movement was growing at 54% y-o-y for the year till date.

With the Pune airport infrastructure being upgraded, it is capable of handling international flights, Pune Airport director Ajay Kumar said. They have been pursuing this with the ministry to make the airport, which is a ‘customs airport’, into an international airport, Kumar said. As of now, no foreign airline is allowed to operate from the Pune Airport which it shares with the Indian Air Force. The director said there were proposals from international flight operators to start international flights.

The only international flight that has operated from Pune is by Lufthansa and this was allowed as a special case and the rest of the handful flights are by Indian companies such as Jet, SpiceJet and Air India. Lufthansa had stopped its flights and was set to restart its flights with double the capacity from November 2018 onwards.

A new proposed international airport is slated to come up near Pune at Purandar but it is yet to begin land acquisition and will take a long way in coming up. A new government policy does allow two international airports to operate from the same city, Kumar said.
16/10/18 Geeta Nair/Financial Express
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