Sunday, June 30, 2019

Number of international flyers & flights drops at Lohegaon airport

Pune: The Lohegaon airport has recorded a major drop in number of foreign flyers as well as international flight movements in the first quarter of the year.
Airports Authority of India data reveals that the number of international passengers has dropped by around 49% from 26,010 in February to 13,208 in April, while the number of foreign flight movements has dipped from 204 to 100 (a drop of around 50%) during the same period. With no international direct flights from Pune in the offing, at least till the end of October, things will not improve, sources said.

According to an economic report tabled at Vidhan Bhavan in Mumbai recently, Pune is the fastest growing airport in terms of domestic traffic in the state, surpassing Mumbai in terms of percentage increase in 2017 and 2018.

An airport official said that grounding of Jet Airways led to suspension of two direct flights to Abu Dhabi and Singapore, which resulted in drop in foreign passengers. “For a long time after that the international slots of Jet were not given to any other airline,” the official said.

Earlier this year, the airport authorities had said that an airline was expected to start a flight to Bangkok from Pune. There were also talks of another flight to Male in the Maldives from Pune. However, things have not moved much since then.

“The growth would have been much more and Pune airport would have achieved 10 million passenger mark but for the grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft by DGCA on safety grounds and cancellation of a significant number of flights by Lufthansa, Jet Airways, Spice Jet and Indigo,” aviation analyst and expert Dhairyashil Vandekar said.
30/06/19 Joy Sengupta/Times of India
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