Monday, November 15, 2021

Pune airport’s per day footfalls may hit 2019 levels by Dec

Pune: With around seven new flights expected to start from Pune airport in the next two months, daily passenger traffic will reach its pre-pandemic levels by December, senior airport officials have said.

“The airport will become operational for 24 hours from December 1 onwards. This will ensure proper spacing of flights. Also, the number of late night and red eye flights have always been more in Pune compared to daytime movements. With the airport operational round-the-clock, there will be more new flights starting, too,” Pune airport director Santosh Dhoke told TOI.

He added, “We are hopeful that passenger traffic will reach pre-pandemic levels by next month and attempts are being made to ensure this.”

At present, the airport has been witnessing daily average passenger traffic of 17,000-19,000 passengers per day as well. During pre-pandemic times, his same figure stood at 25,000-30,000. “The daily passenger traffic is still 35% short of 2019 levels. But the all-day operations will change this. Total flight movements today are 124-130 on most days, which stood at around 170 in 2019. By March next year, we expect to see the daily flight movements touching pre-pandemic levels. However, things could go back to square one if the third wave hits,” another airport official pointed out.

With the new Jet Airways expected to begin operations from the first quarter of next year, airport officials said they expect to see its presence in Pune, too. “Jet Airways had the most slots in addition to an international flight to Singapore before it closed down here. We see no reason as to why it will not resume flights from Pune once operations begin,” the official said.

At the moment, chaos and crowding have taken centre stage at the airport, leaving flyers feeling hassled. A meeting of the Pune airport advisory committee will take place on November 24 to address these issues, Pune Member of Parliament (MP) and advisory committee chairman Girish Bapat told TOI. “The meeting will see detailed discussions with all stakeholders on different issues, including crowding. The minutes of the meeting will be prepared,” Bapat said.

15/11/21 Joy Sengupta/Times of India

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