• New Pune airport should take three years to complete but can’t give a definite deadline, says Ajay Kumar

    Is Pune finally getting a new airport? After waiting for so many years, is it finally happening?
    Pune badly needs an airport of its own. Technically, the Chief Minister and the Airports Authority of India has zeroed in on the land. Roughly, area will be 18 square kilometres. But the final site has to be decided by the Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC). The area will certainly touch many villages and may also require rehabilitation. But from what I know, the selected site does not have much cultivation or high residential density.
    Manoj More: Do you think it’s an appropriate site?
    It’s basically appropriate from the construction point of view. It’s about 40-45 kms away from the Pune City. I can’t say right now when such a huge infrastructure is there, about new road and rail infrastructure. A new airport—being 40-odd kilometre away from the centre of the city-— it’s not a long distance. In fact, it’s a must because a lot of land is required for the development. Hence, the airports can’t be very close to the city.
    Sunanda Mehta: The new airport has been delayed for so long. In the meantime, Pune has grown tremendously. So what is it that the city has lost during these years?
    The growth of air traffic and the potential is phenomenal. Last year, we grew at the rate of 29 per cent. This year, we are growing at 25-per cent point. Thus we have seen a 65 per cent growth. Last year, we handled about 5.5 million passengers. This year, it might cross 6.6 million. That’s too great a growth for a city. This city has a great potential I would say.
    Atikh Rashid: In last few months, the AAI and Civil Aviation Ministry has moved fast to increase the capacity of the Lohegaon Airport and the newly-acquired 15 acres of land. Will the latest announcement of finalisation of the site for the new airport slow down this development of the Lohegaon Airport?
    No. Basically, the new airport is not a replacement for this airport. This development is to meet the short-term demands. Four new aircraft bays will come up of Code-C type on the additional land that we have got. Also, buildings of a volume 35,000 square metre will come up, which will also enhance the amenities at the airport.
    Ajay Khape: What would be the difference between having an airport at the new proposed site in Purandar as opposed to the earlier location at Chakan?
    I can’t compare these two locations. I have not seen the location (Chakan) at all. That site is not technically suitable. That was the only problem. They were not suitable from the aeronautical point of view. Mike Napoli Authentic Jersey

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