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Thursday, October 21, 2021

‘Diwali plans ruined’: Pune citizens slam decision to shut down airport ahead of festive season

Pune Airport Director Santosh Dhoke told The Indian Express that Lohegaon being a defence airfield, the Air Force has the final say in such decisions.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: October 6, 2021 6:55:52 am
PuneFlyers who had already booked their tickets have been left grappling in the dark about the process to cancel or reschedule their travel plans. (File)

The sudden announcement that the Pune airport will remain shut from October 16 to 30 has caught both airlines and travellers off guard ahead of the festive season. Citizens whose travel plans may well be upended by the decision are now taking to social media to vent out their anger and pleading with public representatives to intervene into the matter to reconsider the decision.

Many people took to social media blaming the airport administration for the sudden and untimely announcement. They also tagged Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Sindia and Pune MP Girish Bapat, requesting them to get the authorities to cancel the closure plan.

When reached for comment, Pune Airport Director Santosh Dhoke told The Indian Express that Lohegaon being a defence airfield, the Air Force has the final say in such decisions. “This is not our decision. This is a defence airfield, and we have to comply with whatever decision the Air Force makes. It’s their prerogative,” said Dhoke.

Rishika Sharma, who works in Pune and had planned to visit her home in Dharamsala for Diwali, was among those who have been inconvenienced by the sudden announcement.

“I had booked a flight for October 24 from Pune to Delhi, and then I had a connecting flight to Dharamsala from Delhi. With the Pune-Delhi flight getting cancelled due to the announced closure, my travel plan is all but ruined. Even if I decide to travel from Mumbai, the flight ticket will very expensive because it’s already too late. And then I will also have to bear the additional travel expenses from Pune to Mumbai,” said Sharma.

By Tuesday evening, social media platforms were full of posts from citizens who were adversely affected by this decision.

“Even if @aaipunairport planned to take such a decision it should have been taken at least 3 months before. These guys are taking the decision just 10 days in advance and spoiling everyone’s Diwali vacations,” posted Sanjay Koul on Twitter.

Flyers who had already booked their tickets have been left grappling in the dark about the process to cancel or reschedule their travel plans.

The airlines too seemed to be taken aback by the sudden decision and are now asking the customers to wait until they got clarity on the situation.

The closure will also affect the transport of vaccines from Pune manufacturers who will have to ship the cargo via Mumbai.

On Tuesday, 46.17 lakh vaccine doses were shipped from Pune airport to various destinations.

– Stay updated with the latest Pune news. Follow Express Pune on Twitter here and on Facebook here. You can also join our Express Pune Telegram channel here.

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  • The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.
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