The modernisation of the city’s Lohegaon airport will commence on January 8 and go on for three months, with a deadline set for April 8. The ambitious project is part of the makeover initiated by the Indian Air Force (IAF) under its Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) project. The MAFI project involves the upgrade of 30 Air Force bases in the country.
The 17 flights, including two international flights — Pune-Dubai and Pune-Frankfurt — will be affected during the modernisation work, which is likely to go on until April 8. The airport would remain shut from 10 pm to 8 am once work on the project kicks off. Currently, several flights originate from Lohegaon, and once the project starts, some of the scheduled flights, including international ones, could be affected.
Air Commodore Surat Singh, however, said that the affected flights would be adjusted to a different time slot. “The runway has to be dug up to install landing lights in three consecutive rows and that is the main reason the 17 flights operating from Lohegaon airbase will be affected. However, at the same time we will also take care that passengers donot have to suffer due to the work, and accordingly, the flights would be adjusted to different time slots,” said Air Commodore Singh. Pune is the second airport after Bhatinda to get the MAFI system.
“MAFI is necessary for better management of air traffic. The runway’s safety will not be compromised at any stage during the project. Manual check-ups would be undertaken daily after the work,” said Air Commodore Singh. Meanwhile, while speaking about the extension of the runway at Lohegaon Airport, Singh added that the matter was sub-judice. “The plans regarding the extension work are all ready, and as soon as the matter is cleared in the High Court, the extension work on the runway will commence, ” said Singh.