More than a week ago, ‘site’ clearance was given by the Civil Aviation Ministry for the construction of a new international airport at Purandar in Pune. The news came as a much-welcomed development after the project was first approved two years ago by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. The new Greenfield international airport will be called Chhatrapati Sambhaji Raje International Airport after the Maratha King born at Purandar Fort and is expected to be functional by the year 2023.
Pune International Airport (PNQ) at Lohegaon is at present running beyond its full capacity. Passenger traffic at the existing Pune Airport has surged from 6.76 million to 8.1 million during 2017-18. The airport’s passenger handling capacity per hour is also limited to 450.
The single terminal Pune International Airport has limited expansion options since it is an Air Force Base. There are only two to four international flights operating out of Pune Airport’s sole terminal currently including flights to Pune from USA. About 65-70 daily domestic flights connect Pune to other cities in India. Such massive and quick increase in passenger traffic led to the need for a separate international airport for Pune, one of the fastest growing cities in India.
While there are direct flights to Mumbai from US cities of Newark, San Francisco, and New York, there is no such nonstop flight service to Pune International Airport. Currently, flights to Pune from USA have one or more stops along the way. There are hopes the new international airport at Pune will make it possible to book direct flights from USA and Asia-Pacific countries to the city in future.
Purandar Airport Project Details:
Once operational, Purandar Airport will take over the excess passenger traffic which the current Pune International Airport (PNQ) is struggling to handle. A travel agent working for Indian Eagle travel agency opined that the new Pune International Airport will make air traffic flow to the city much smoother than it is now. He acknowledged that there is a growing demand for direct international flights to Pune, which will be shorter than the existing connecting flights to Pune via Mumbai or Delhi. The agent believes that once the airport is operational, there are high chances of the agency’s partner airlines launching direct flights to Pune for the cheapest fare deals on their website IndianEagle.com. The agency books some of the cheapest flights to Pune from USA on a regular basis.
To be helmed by Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) the ambitious project is set to cost around 14,000 crores and cover an area of 2,400 hectares.
Dorsch, a leading German consulting company, has prepared the detailed project report of the upcoming Purandar Airport. The company received the contract to develop the new Pune international airport in March 2017 and has previously developed airports in famous cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Kuwait.
Listed below are a few key details of the Purandar Airport project:
- The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has granted site approval for the project to be spread across 2,400 hectares. The government owns about 1,300 hectares of the total site area.
- The new Pune Airport site is placed about 45 km away from the city center and will operate both domestic and international flights.
- Purandar Airport will have two parallel runways or airstrips each spanning a length of 4 km. It will be connected through six different routes which include National Highway 4 and National Highway 17.
- The estimated time for the completion of this project is about four years.
- Purandar Airport will be developed on a public-private partnership model.
- Work on the Purandar Airport project will begin as soon as MADC receives the necessary regulatory clearance.
- There are six new airport projects for which the center has promised to invest with a capital expenditure outlay of 50,000 crores. This includes the Purandar Airport project.
- A suggestion is doing the rounds to provide a Metro line from Bhosari to the new Pune International Airport.