Major airport projects to take off within 9 months

Sep 04, 2017

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Source: The Times of India

By: Joy Sengupta

The Lohegaon airport authorities have set a 9-month target for a complete overhaul of the terminal building.

The facility has already witnessed a number of changes and the authorities are optimistic to complete a number of major ongoing projects, such as the construction of aerobridges, complete overhaul of washrooms and refurbishing the smoking and baby care rooms, by June next year. In addition, there will be a number of new features at the facility for the flyers’ convenience.

“There has been an overall improvement in various facilities at the airport. However, there are certain issues that still persist. Passenger volume has increased and some of the most common complaints are related to washrooms,” an official said.

“Passengers have to walk in all weather conditions to board flights. There’s the issue of long wait in different queues during peak hours. Another issue that has cropped up recently is the that the smoking room and the baby care room are located close to each other. Work is on to improve all this and we believe that we will resolve many of these issues by the end of June 2018,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) had launched Project Disha to uplift facilities at nine airports in the country, including the one in Pune. An AAI team, during its visit to the airport, had identified five key areas that needed to be improved. These include severe congestion throughout the airport, including the check-in zone and Security Hold Area (SHA), the time taken for check-in and security checks and the absence of flight information display screens (FIDS) at the airport. All this led to difficulties in navigation at the airport. Besides, many people complained about limited options of dining and shopping at the airport.

“A lot of work has been done since February as part of Project Disha. For instance, the illumination quality at the airport has been improved, new FIDS have been installed, more eateries and two duty-free shops have come up and the condition of some washrooms has been improved. But the facility needs more improvements and work is on,” the official added.

Problems like severe congestion throughout the Lohegaon airport, including check-in area and security hold area, time taken for check-in, security checks, absence of FIDS and very limited dining and shopping options are being addressed through Project Disha, an AAI initiative.

Devesh Singh, who took a flight from the airport on August 23, had complained to civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju via social media about the smoking room being adjacent to the child care room. Another passenger had recently tweeted about smelly washrooms in the departure area.

“There have been certain areas of improvement at the airport. But many aspects are still pending. Some FIDS at times show wrong flight timings. The washrooms need to be looked after properly,” Somesh Brar, a resident of Delhi who flies frequently to Pune for business, told TOI.

“The Pune airport has been expanding in terms of passenger traffic. The AAI has taken several projects to ensure proper functioning at the facility. The situation in terms of passenger facilities will be much better once the ongoing projects are over,” the official said.

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