With work on the Indian Air Forces (IAF) Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) project slated to begin in a months time on the Pune airfield,flight schedules are likely to be affected during the period.
The project is expected to be completed in six months.
Tentatively,the flight operations are expected to remain closed between 10 pm and 8 am,but the timings are likely to change as the Indian Air Force (IAF) authorities are talking to the airlines to work out a feasible schedule, Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) president S K Jain told The Indian Express.
Pune being a defence airport,civilian flights dont operate between 8 am and 10.30 am and between 7.30 pm and 10.30 pm when the IAF jets carry out operations.
The MAFI project bagged by Tata Power in April 2011 involves upgrade of 26 IAF bases in the country. Pune is one of them. The equipment and infrastructure received under the MAFI project are expected to benefit civilian flight operations too. The project has already been completed in Bathinda and is expected to bring in some of the most modern Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) that could include localiser antenna and guide-path buildings,both of which can enhance navigation,especially night vision. While the airport already has a Distant Measuring Equipment (DME),there is a possibility of receiving another. The Air Force station will receive ILS,automated Air Traffic Control,runway lights besides others, Air Chief Marshal Norman Anil Kumar Browne had told the media in Pune in August.
The MAFI will affect nearly 25 arrivals and 17 departures per day at Pune,including a few early morning flights. The closure will also affect IAF operations, said Jain.
The long awaited runway extension is also likely to get a boost as it is hoped that the MAFI project would help increase the length of the runway from the existing 8,350 feet to 9,500-10,000 feet. International planes of bigger sizes need longer runways and a smaller runway is one reason why foreign carriers are not looking at Pune,though two international flights from the airport are getting a good response. We are hopeful IAF modernisation would benefit us in getting a longer runway, an AAI official had told The Indian Express earlier.
Airport director P S R K Sudhakar was not available for comments.