Space crunch hits private aircraft operations

17 aircraft but only one bay; non-scheduled aircraft forced to park in Aurangabad and Nashik.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni | Pune | Published:September 29, 2013 2:42 am

Parking issues it seems are not limited to four-wheelers on roads. The Pune International Airport too has limited parking space and there is little scope to expand the area. The delay in building the new airport even as city’s skies get busier has affected the private aircraft operators. Private,non-scheduled aircraft owners and operators are now forced to park their aircraft at distant locations such as Aurangabad and Nashik.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) too has expressed helplessness on the grounds that the airport is under the control of the IAF. Airport authorities said city’s 17 private aircraft are vying for space at the airport. Eight aircraft have been allotted permanent parking space for night halt. The remaining nine aircraft get permission to park only if any of the permitted eight aircraft are away. Furhtermore,four requests for night halt are pending.

“There are seven bays at the airport. Bay 1 to 5 have been allotted to scheduled airlines and Bay 6 has been kept as spare one for operational requirement. The non-scheduled operators park their aircraft in Bay 7,” said an AAI official.

On any given day,the airport handles 46 domestic arrivals and departures apart from international flights to Sharjah,Frankfurt and Singapore. The airport witnesss 5-6 non-scheduled landings.

Data available with the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) shows that out of the total number of private owners,six of them have Non-Scheduled Operator’s Permit (NSOP) who operate 14 aircraft,fixed as well as rotary wing. There are others who own aircraft but do not possess NSOP permits. Both park their aircraft at the airport. The rotary wing aircraft,that is helicopter owners,have to park it elsewhere.

The DGCA website offers a comparative data with some other cities too. According to DGCA website,eight aircraft were added to the existing lot in the city in three years between October 2010 and August 2013. With exceptions of bigger cities,Mumbai and Delhi,this number has been comparable to Bangalore 14,Hyderabad 8 and Chennai 4 and Ahmedabad 1. But what remains significant is that all the four cities except for Pune now boast of bigger,international airports.

The inability to provide parking facility also has financial implications. AAI currently charges Rs 450 per month per sq metre as parking charges besides taxes. The airport which recorded a turnover of Rs 60 crore over the previous financial year could have earned more if more aircraft can be allowed night halt,officials said.

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