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Pune airport to be closed for two weeks

Pune airport will remain closed from Feb 12 to Feb 26 for re-carpeting the runway.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2008 17:59 IST

Pune airport will remain closed from Feb 12 to Feb 26 for re-carpeting the runway. During the fortnight-long closure, at least 26 flights will be affected.

"The airfield will be closed due to resurfacing and other associated work in progress, including digging work on runway edge and building a rapid taxi way," Capt Deepak Shastri, director of Pune airport, told IANS on Saturday.

According to airport officials, there have been continuous disruptions in flights at Pune for past few months because of maintenance work. The decision to close the airport is due to safety reasons.

Airlines operating from Pune include Air India, Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, SpiceJet, IndiGo, JetLite and Simplifly Deccan.

The closure is likely to lead to revenue loss for the airlines. SpiceJet alone would incur a loss of around Rs 40 million ($1 million).

"During this period, all flights being operated from Pune to Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad would be cancelled," Siddhanta Sharma, the chief executive officer of SpiceJet, told IANS.

Kingfisher Airlines and Simplifly Deccan have also announced the suspension of flights to and from Pune. "Eight flights in and out of Pune will be suspended," confirmed a spokesperson of Simplifly Deccan.

Air India, which operates domestic and international flights from various Indian cities, has stopped bookings for its Pune flights.

"Due to total closure of the runway, there would be no flights from Pune. But if anybody wants to go to Pune, they would be accommodated on Mumbai flights. Same will apply to international flights from Dubai and Singapore," said a spokesperson of Air India.

Apart from the scheduled airlines, companies such as Kirloskar Group and Bajaj Group use the Pune airport for their private jets.

Industry experts suggest that the closure has been timed so as to ensure that the impact is minimal.

"February is generally the lean season in the domestic tourism industry for a variety of reasons including the fact that examinations in school and colleges begin the following month," said Anoop Kanuga, chairman, Travel Agents Association of India.