PUNE: The first phase of the re-carpeting work at the city airport took off last week with the resurfacing of the taxiway, prompting temporary suspension of services of an AirAsia flight to Kolkata.
A source at the airport said the parallel taxiway of the facility was being resurfaced at present. The runway re-carpeting would be taken up next year in the second phase of the project.
The number of landings and take-offs per hour has dropped because of the re-carpeting of the taxiway. “The hourly flight movements from the airport has been hit. Aircraft are taking longer now to reach the runway from the parking bay because they are taking a longer route now. As the work progresses, the number of hourly landings and take-offs will decrease further. It means some more flights will be suspended temporarily,” another source at the airport told TOI.
Air Asia has suspended its flight from Pune to Kolkata for this reason. “The flight will resume in October last week,” an Air Asia spokesperson said.
Flyers are predictably disappointed over the temporary suspension of the flight. “I had booked three tickets in July for my relatives on October 20. An email landed in my mailbox three days back stating that the flight has been cancelled due to operational requirements. I had to rebook their tickets on a different airline, which cost me Rs5,000 more,” said Vadgaon resident Snigdha Bhaduri.
O S Mukundan, another passenger booked in a SpiceJet flight from Pune to Chennai on October 12, is disappointed because the flight has been rescheduled to the next day. “The airline mentioned runway closure as the reason,” he wrote on social media.
A source said the re-carpeting work would be done in two phases. “The work on the taxiway has started, and the runway resurfacing will start by early next year. Since the runway is maintained by the Indian Air Force, it will formally announce dates and the way (phases) the work will be done to the airlines well in advance so that they can make necessary changes in their flight schedules,” another source said.
A representative of an airline said they had applied for some new flights from Pune in the upcoming winter schedule, but they might not be approved by the carrier’s headquarters because of the re-carpeting work at the city airport.