Pune airport's 14-day closure starts today, IAF says vaccine supply won't be hit
Pune airport will remain closed for 14 days - from Saturday to October 29 - to complete the runway resurfacing work. The resurfacing work is being undertaken by the Indian Air Force (IAF), which manages the runway operations.
Informing about the closure of the airport, the IAF had said earlier this month that shutting down the airstrip was "inescapable" as the condition of the runway is rapidly deteriorating and it needs re-carpeting.
"Flight operations will remain completely closed from tomorrow till October 29 and it will resume from October 30," Pune airport director Santosh Dhoke was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Friday.
Partial closure of the runway was done for 12 hours daily during night from October 26, 2020 for the maintenance work, in order to cause the least disturbance to daily civil operations, news agency ANI reported.
"A 14-day complete closure was planned from April 26 till May 9, 2021 to undertake the resurfacing of the central bitumen portion of the runway. However, due to emergent requirement of transport of Covid-19 vaccines, The Ministry of Defence had directed to defer the complete closure of runway," a statetment from the IAF said.
This is the second shut down within a span of 13 years.
The travellers were shocked by the announcement, which they said was made at a very short notice. Many of them had planned to fly as the festive season has begun.
The announcement of closure was made on the day a greenfield airport was inaugurated by the Centre in Sindhudurg. Operationalisation of the airport at Chipi in Sindhudurg has opened the horizon of additional connectivity of costal Maharashtra with other cities, directly connected with bigger places like Pune.
Meanwhile, the IAF said that during the period of complete closure of the runway, it will ensure airlift of vaccines from Pune to Mumbai by deploying suitable assets to ensure uninterrupted supply chain.