New Pune Airport Terminal Ready but Not Operational: What’s Causing the Delay?

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Pune, 11th June 2024: It has been three months since Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Pune airport’s new terminal building, which boasts a significantly larger capacity and upgraded facilities. Despite this, passengers continue to express frustration as they are still forced to use the “bus-stand-like” existing terminal, where conditions have only deteriorated.

When the new terminal was inaugurated on March 11, the Pune airport administration assured that it would be operational within “four-five weeks” following the necessary regulatory approvals from the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS).

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had urged the airport administration to expedite the process and begin operations by April 1. Both deadlines have been missed by a considerable margin.

Officers from the Airports Authority of India have revealed that although BCAS approvals have recently been received, the operationalisation of the new terminal is delayed due to the unfulfilled request for additional Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel required for the expanded facility.

“We are waiting for CISF reinforcement. We have requested 231 additional CISF personnel, and once we receive them, we will start transitioning to the new terminal. All other approvals, including security clearance and clearance for food and beverage stalls, have been obtained,” stated Santosh Dhoke, director of Pune airport.

Dhoke highlighted that the new terminal building has an annual capacity to handle 9 million passengers and a peak capacity of 3,000 passengers, compared to the current terminal’s 7.7 million annual capacity and 2,400 peak capacity.

“Given the larger size of the new building, we need more personnel on the ground. We will be shifting operations in phases. During the transition, both terminal buildings will be operational, increasing the need for additional security,” added Dhoke.

Dhoke expressed optimism about receiving the necessary CISF reinforcements soon, now that the general elections are over. “As soon as we get the additional CISF personnel, we will commence operations at the new terminal building,” he said.

Dhoke acknowledged the current terminal’s struggle to handle passenger volume, leading to justified frustration often voiced on social media. “Reducing flights could be a temporary solution, but it would increase ticket prices and inconvenience passengers. The new terminal will provide significant relief as it is much larger and features state-of-the-art facilities,” he assured.

The new terminal, built at a cost of Rs 423 crore, spans a built-up area of 51,595 square metres.

Flyers now eagerly await the operationalisation of the new terminal, hopeful that it will finally alleviate the longstanding issues at Pune airport.