The Pune Air Force Station on Wednesday agreed, in principle, to hand over roughly 23,000sqft for the 1.8km road that will act as the alternative route.
The extension of the runway is critical for the operation of widebody aircraft like Airbus A340s and Boeing 747s that carry more passengers. Currently, narrowbodies like Airbus 319s, 320s and Boeing 737s operate from the airport.
The decision was taken at a joint meeting at the air force station. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) commissioner Vikram Kumar, additional commissioner Vikas Dhakne and Air Officer Commanding Air Commodore Shekhar Yadav, Pune airport director Santosh Doke and senior officials of the Indian Air Force and PMC attended the meeting.
Dhakne told TOI: “Several issues regarding the runway extension were discussed in the meeting. The air force authorities have agreed to hand over their land close to the quarry. Now, we will be able to construct a 1.8km road of 24m width. In return, the air force authorities will complete the runway extension work.”
A senior IAF officer told TOI, on condition of anonymity, “The existing length of the runway is 8,333 feet (2,539m). We plan to increase it to 10,000 feet (3,048m). It will meet our operational requirements and civil flight requirements at the Pune airport.”
MLA Sunil Tingre, who had been pursuing this matter with the PMC and IAF authorities since 2012, said, “The PMC should start the work at the earliest as it will address the issues of people living in Dhanori and Lohegaon areas. Also, the IAF will be able to extend the runway to operate smoothly. Considering the increasing footfall at the Pune airport, the extension work is the need of the hour.”
A senior civic official said, “Once we get the land parcel from the IAF, we will start the work at the earliest. Moreover, we will construct a 10-foot perimeter wall along the 1.8km road for the security of the air force station.”
In March last year, the defence ministry had approved the transfer of 13 acres of land belonging to the Indian Air Force to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the shifting of the existing cargo terminal of the Pune airport and building of a new domestic and international cargo terminal. Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari had said the same would be helpful in boosting cargo operations from Pune.
“This will benefit western Maharashtra for export of agriculture and industrial products,” he had said.