Come dense fog in the winter or heavy showers in the rains, safe landings and take-offs will soon be possible even in bad weather at the Lohgaon airport as it is set to get an advanced version of the Runway Visual Range (RVR) system.
The version of the system that the airport is obtaining to help aircraft operate in poor weather conditions is called CAT II. Only the Delhi airport today has a more advanced system than CAT II.
“Efficient lighting system of the airport helps the pilot take a decision about landing in bad weather conditions,” airport director P S R K Sudhakar said. “In the current system, the pilot has to take a decision about whether to land or not from the height of 800 metres. But in CAT II, the pilot can make the decision at a low height of up to 400 meters.”
Delhi airport has the CAT III B system, which is the most advanced RVR system in the country. “Actually, Pune airport doesn’t need CAT III B system because the city does not face extreme weather conditions,” Sudhakar said. “In the winter season, many times flights get rescheduled, so cities like Delhi need advanced CAT system. But for Pune, CAT II is sufficient.”
The new system will be installed under the Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure Project (MAAFI), which is expected to be implemented in a few months.
MAAFI is a project initiated by the Indian Air Force (IAF), and Tata Power has been awarded the contract for the project. Other important advanced instruments will also be installed under the project.
“The airport will get a notice three months before the implementation,” Sudhakar said. “Till now, we have not received any notice.” IAF officials said that the project would be implemented as early as possible.
Lohgaon Air Force Station spokesperson Wing Commander R R Lal said the project had already got all approvals.
Direct flight to Chennai
Air India is introducing a direct Chennai-Pune-Chennai flight from Wednesday. The new service will use an Airbus A320. The flight will depart from Chennai at 9.50 am and reach the city at 11.30 am. It will take off from the city at 12.15 pm and reach Chennai at 2 pm. The flight will operate on all days except Saturday. Pune station manager of Air India Dhairyasheel Wandekar said: “For the first time, we are starting a direct flight to Chennai from Pune airport and it will be beneficial for passengers. On the occasion of the launch, we have provided attractive fares — Rs 2,962 for bookings made 30 days in advance, Rs 3,855 for 14 days earlier and Rs 6,350 for seven days in advance.”