Just as air travel was picking up again, maintenance requirements at Indian airports are also picking up again! The Pune Airport is a case in point, which is operated as a civil enclave out of a defence airport. The Indian Air Force, which uses the Pune Airport, has notified a complete shut down of the airport for runway resurfacing work.
Pune Airport to remain fully shut in October 2021 for 14 days
While international air travel has not resumed out of Pune airport, domestic flights across the country have been picking up. In the midst of this, a NOTAM was issued (Notice to Airmen) about the closure of the Pune Airport for 14 days with no operations.
Simply speaking, the airport will be shut from 8 PM IST on October 15 to 8 AM IST on October 30. Subsequently, the airport will be closed for twelve hours daily (8 PM to 8 AM), all through November 2021, for further work on the airport runway.
The official Pune Airport Twitter also put out a notification in this regard. Note that they have only put out October 16 to October 29, as that might be the actual impact in terms of commercial flights.
This is to inform all passengers that as per information received from Indian Air Force (IAF), due to runway resurfacing works, all flights from #PuneAirport will not operate for 14 days from 16 October 2021 to 29 October 2021.@AAI_Official @aairedwr @Pib_MoCA @DGCAIndia
— Pune Airport (@aaipunairport) October 5, 2021
This means that Pune Airport will not operate any commercial flights from October 16 to October 29, 2021. Subsequently, commercial air travel should resume because commercial flights used to operate in the 8 AM/8 PM range anyways. Currently, 55 flights operate out of Pune, per AAI.
The Runway Maintenance work was earlier supposed to be undertaken in April but was postponed and will now be conducted in October 2021.
Unfortunately, for passengers planning to fly in and out of Pune, this late intimation means that they will have to fly through Mumbai to keep their plans intact, which will cost additional time and money. Or they just cancel their plans and receive a refund.
So far, no airline has commented if they will be accommodating passengers on their Mumbai originating or arriving flights free of cost. They have also just heard of this situation at the same time as the customers.
This move would also impact vaccine delivery, with Pune Airport being the centre of production for SII, which have been sending out the Covishield vaccines across the country via air. This would be rerouted via Mumbai.
Pune Airport will undergo runway re-carpeting and hence will not be available for the use of airlines and customers between October 16 and October 29, 2021. This decision has been intimated, unfortunately, just ten days before work would begin.
What do you plan to do if you are one of the affected people? Have you heard from your airline about the cancellation of your flight?
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