Pune: People demand direct flight from Pune to Patna

Pune airport
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Sushant Ranjan

Pune, June 12, 2020: People from Patna residing in Pune are looking for a direct flight to Pune, which has not yet started, to go back home. As the lockdown has been eased for citizens, the Government has started the function of airports and railways across the country.

People residing in Pune from different parts of the country have started moving to their hometown. An average 30 flights operate daily from Pune Airport for Delhi, Jaipur, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Prayagraj. Only a single train has started from Pune to Danapur, which is a special train.

However, a large section of the population from Patna is staying in Pune. These range from labourers working on daily wages to those highly placed in the IT industries. While the majority of the migrant workers have left by train or buses post lockdown, those engaged in the IT and other industries, students and those engaged in well-to-do jobs and businesses do not prefer to travel by surface transport. This is mainly because of the greater possibility of transmission of the infection when travelling by road or rail for obvious reasons like lack of social distancing and longer hours of travel not to leave out the overall comfort in travel.

The people from Patna are thus looking for a direct flight from Pune to Patna, or via Kolkata. Till last year, there were two flights from Pune to Patna, but both were in the night because the day slots were not available. Several highly ranked central government officials are also asking their authorities to start a direct flight from Pune to Patna.

Recently, two flights have started operations from Pune to Prayagraj and Lucknow. People are appreciating the airlines and airport authorities for starting flights for these two destinations.

“It’s a good decision to start two flights for Prayagraj and Lucknow. But at least one flight should start from Pune to Patna. If the authority or airline runs one flight via Prayagraj or Lucknow to Patna, a large number of passengers from Patna will book tickets,” a highly ranked Central Government officer told Punekarnews.in

“As most IT professionals are working from home, we are waiting for a direct flight from Pune to Patna. As of now, either we have to go to Delhi or Kolkata. Due to non-availability of a direct flight from Pune, hundreds of people are not going to Patna,” said an IT professional.

Aviation expert and analyst Dhairyashil Vandekar said, “It is seen that a large population of such persons staying in Pune and Western Maharashtra have been waiting in the hope that the direct flights will commence from Pune to Patna, and they will be able to fly safely to their hometown. With WFH implemented by the IT industries, the employees are keen to return to Patna and work from there. This is because of the difficulties being experienced by them in their daily routine due to restrictions, avoidable expenditure being incurred on rent etc. The students studying in different institutes in Pune and surrounding areas also want to return home as there is no possibility of the colleges opening for at least a couple of months. With their parents worrying about their safety due to Pune’s high infection rates they are eagerly waiting for the direct flights to resume.”

Vandekar added that though the option of catching a flight from Mumbai is there, it again involves surface travel, and all of them want to fly as they feel that air travel is not only more comfortable, less taxing and faster but mainly it is safe because of the measures adopted by the airports and the airlines in the interest of the passengers.

“With flight operations having been scaled down to almost a third of the original schedule, getting a slot for starting such flights should not be a problem. If not a daily flight, to begin with, the government can consider operating direct flights at least four times a week. On the other days, it may operate the Pune-Kolkata flight via Patna. It will not only ensure connectivity to Patna, but will also provide better commercial viability for the airlines to operate. The government must respond to the needs of these travellers stuck in the city, and provide them relief at the earliest,” he said.