Pune airport to reopen Wednesday

Tuesday, 26 February 2008, 08:00 Hrs
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Pune: Pune's Lohegaon airport will reopen Wednesday. The airport was closed for the last 15 days to re-carpet the runway, which was badly damaged due to an increase in air traffic.

The Lohegaon airport, which was established in 1937 as a base for the Indian Air Force (IAF), will be open for eight hours from 10.30 a.m. till 6.30 p.m. for civilian commercial flights.

This schedule will be maintained till the airport is fully repaired. The repair work is likely to be completed within two to three months.

The runway was last repaired 10 years back. Since then commercial traffic at the airport has considerably increased, a defence official said.

The IAF shifted its squadrons to other airbases like Jodhpur and Jamnagar due to the repair work at the runway. The fighter squadrons are expected to return by early April.

Pune airport director Deepak Shastri said: "All the commercial airlines will resume as per the schedule which was in effect before the closure of the airport."

This has come as a relief to residents of Pune. "It is big relief to be able to fly from Pune itself. Due to the closure of the airport, we had to make all bookings from Mumbai. Travelling to Mumbai was a waste of time," said Amit Jindal, a software professional.

Entrepreneurs and industrialists feel that Pune has emerged as a business hub for information technology and automobiles and it is time the city got its own civilian airport.

Sites at Chankan and Rajgurunagar, about 40 km from the city centre along the Pune-Nashik highway, were short-listed for a proposed Pune international airport but the construction is yet to start.

At present 54 flights take off from and land at the Pune airport every day. About 7,000 passengers pass through the airport daily.
Source: IANS
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