Pune MP Anil Shirole met Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi on Friday and requested him to allow more civil movement at Lohegaon Airport. Shirole, who heads the Airport Advisory Committee (AAC) for Pune Airport, also sought the possibility of increasing the daily movements from 100 (as they are now) to 154 (77 landings and 77 take-offs).
Shirole requested Gadkari to give permissions for extending the runway, getting land from the Indian Air Force for a terminal building, a multi-level parking, a BSO Yard, cargo parking, residential quarters and creating better approach roads to the airport.
“From 6 am to 8 am and 10.30 am to 8 pm, the total number of slots provided for civil operations is 100 movements (50 landings and 50 take-offs). This comes to an average of 7.15 movements per hour. Whereas a single runway can normally handle 24 movements per hour. It’s requested that 154 movements — 11 movements per hour — may be considered for civil operations,” Shirole said in a memorandum handed over to Gadkari during the meeting.
Shirole suggested to Gadkari, who heads the central government’s Infrastructure Committee, that an extension of the runway on the alternate side should be considered. “There is a need to extend the runway by 1,000 metres to facilitate operations of wide body aircraft. Since the land on the western side is sub-judice extension, an extension of only 300 to 350 metres is possible. However, there’s a possibility of meeting the rest of the runway length need by extending the runway on the eastern side,” wrote Shirole.
Shirole apprised Gadkari of the delay in acquiring land from the Air Force. The state government is yet to give alternate land to the Air Force. District Collector Saurabh Rao had said earlier this week that the state government is planning to give equivalent value land to the Air Force by giving additional TDR to the owner of the land by obtaining an exemption to the Development Plan of the Pune City.
Shirole requested Gadkari to expedite the files pertaining to NOCs that are pending at the Ministry of Defence. “Gadkariji has promised me that he will soon hold a meeting of the infrastructure committee to discuss the issues pertaining to existing and planned airports for Pune,” said Shirole.