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2018, the year that was: Lohegaon airport expected to grow at a rate of 15 per cent in 2019

A comparative study of the growth figures of other main airports of the country suggests that Pune airport registered the third highest growth percentage in passenger flow in 2017-18. It was ranked 10th in 2016-17

pune Updated: Dec 27, 2018 15:09 IST
Parth Welankar
Parth Welankar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Lohegaon airport,Indian airports
Pune airport registered the third highest growth percentage in passenger flow in 2017-18.(HT/PHOTO)

With around 200 daily arrivals and departures and with a growth rate of about 20.6 per cent in the number of passengers during 2017-18, the Lohegaon airport is ranked third in the list of fastest growing Indian airports with an annual flier count of more than 5 million.

Ajay Kumar, director of Lohegaon airport, said, “It is indeed a milestone for us to have achieved a growth rate of 20.6 per cent in this year. However, considering the exponential increase in the demand of flights from Pune, we are expecting a further growth rate of 15 per cent in the coming year.”

“In 2018, we achieved a footfall of 8.2 million passengers’ and we are expecting 12.5 million in the next two years. Accordingly, we are converting non-public areas into public areas,” Kumar added.

A comparative study of the growth figures of other main airports of the country suggests that Pune airport registered the third highest growth percentage in passenger flow in 2017-18. It was ranked 10th in 2016-17.

Considering the increasing footfall at the city airport, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Pune will also be undertaking major infrastructure developments inside as well as outside the terminal building and the airport.

The construction of the airport’s new terminal building has already started with the excavation work and the authorities are hopeful about making it operational in a year’s time.

A senior airport official requesting anonymity, said, “Our aim is to complete the terminal’s construction within a year. The airport’s apron area has been expanded and the new parking bays are giving us the much-needed ease in operations and the focus currently is on the terminal building. Once its construction starts in full swing, we will be able to concentrate on the other aspects of the expansion plan, including a multilevel parking lot.”

Kumar said, “We will be undertaking major infrastructure development projects such as increasing the number of parking bays to increasing facilities of passenger convenience among others. Besides, we also intend to improve the existing road connectivity to the Lohegaon airport thus providing decongestion on roads.

What happened in 2018?

A comparative study of the growth figures of other main airports of the country suggests that Pune airport registered the third highest growth percentage in passenger flow in 2017-18. It was ranked 10th in 2016-17.

What to expect in 2019?

Catering to the complaints of the flyers, the Lohegaon airport authorities have shifted their focus on infrastructure development. The work for new terminal along with adding infrastructure facilities inside the existing terminal has already begun. The new multilevel parking facility will be constructed in parking number one at the airport premises which is expected to be operational in the coming year. The facility is estimated to have a capacity to park 1,000 vehicles. A better road connectivity to the airport is also on the cards.

Positives

City’s Lohegaon airport, along with Cochin and Kolkata airports, has been jointly rated as the world’s third-best airports for customer experience in the 5-15 million passengers per annum category at the prestigious airport service quality (ASQ) awards 2017. The selection of Pune airport was made on the basis of a worldwide programme in which passengers were surveyed across airports for their feedback on 34 key performance indicators. These included service parameters, airport access, check-in, security screening, restrooms, stores and restaurants, which contribute to satisfying travellers’ needs.

Negatives

Despite the fact that Lohegaon Airport has received accolades from the ASQ, however, it has failed to meet the expectation of many passengers. Some of the most frequent complaints from the flyers are about the small size of the airport compared to the number of passengers travelling from the airport. Be it the sitting areas inside the terminal building to the long standing queues at the check-in counters, travellers have raised major complaints about the lack of infrastructure inside the terminal building.

First Published: Dec 27, 2018 15:05 IST