Monday, February 01, 2021

Pune airport to suspend flights from April 26 to May 9 for runway work

Pune: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has intimated to the airport authorities about a total closure of passenger flight operations from the airport between April 26 and May 9 to facilitate the ongoing runway recarpeting works.

The airport is part of the IAF’s air base at Lohegaon. The air force controls the 2,530m runway and air traffic control (ATC).

“We have received the closure intimation from the IAF,” city airport director Kuldeep Singh said on Sunday.

As of now, passenger flights are operating for only 12 hours, from 8am to 8pm, ever since the runway recarpeting work commenced at the airport from October 26 last year.

The complete closure will affect airlines and flyers, especially those who have already booked their tickets for travel between April 26 and May 9.

“This is quite shocking for me and my family. Last week, we booked tickets for travel to Delhi on April 30. Now, we will have to contact the airlines for a refund which is a tedious process these days,” Kharadi resident Rahul Kande told TOI.

Airport officials said the information of total closure has been passed on the airport’s social media handle without delay. “We are informing passengers well in advance considering that February has only started. Coordination is on with the airlines to inform their passengers set to book tickets. Most of the current scheduled flights are expected to remain cancelled for the 14 days. More information can be provided only by the airlines,” said a senior airport official.

All airlines including IndiGo, GoAir, SpiceJet and Air Asia were contacted for their comments on the developments. However, there was no reply from any of them till the time of going to press.

The airport was handling an average 170 flight movements per day prior to the outbreak of the pandemic and that has now gone down to 60-62.

A local representative of one of the airlines said, “We are awaiting instructions from our head office. It is difficult to say right now whether some flights will be shifted to nearby airports. Generally, this will be difficult as getting slots is a major issue as all airports are operating with a limited capacity.”

01/02/21 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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