|Owner||Indian Air Force|
|Operator||Airports Authority of India|
|Location||10 km NE of Pune, Maharashtra, India|
|Elevation AMSL||592 m / 1,942 ft|
|Statistics (April 2018 - March 2019)|
Pune Airport, (IATA: PNQ, ICAO: VAPO) is located approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) northeast of Pune Central in the state of Maharashtra, India. The airport is a civil enclave operated by the Airports Authority of India at the eastern side of Lohagaon Air Force Station of the Indian Air Force. The airport serves both domestic and international flights, especially to West Asia. The increasing flights have made construction of a new terminal and runway expansion mandatory.
Pune Airport has a 2535m long runway oriented 10/28. A former secondary runway is now used as a taxiway by the IAF. A 2200m x 23m parallel taxiway was constructed by AAI to facilitate civil operation on the southern side of Rwy 10/28. The airfield is equipped with night landing facilities as well as navigational facilities like DVOR/DME and an NDB.  As Pune's Air Traffic Control is operated by the IAF, there is often friction between the AAI and the IAF over flight schedules and night landings. There is currently a basic working relationship between the two parties; they have agreed to allow night landings of civilian flights for the time being, though this is not a long-term solution.
The airfield was established in 1939 as RAF Poona to provide air security to the city of Bombay (now Mumbai). The base was home to World War II squadrons of de Havilland Mosquito and Vickers Wellington bombers and Supermarine Spitfire fighter aircraft. In May 1947, the Royal Indian Air Force took charge of the airfield. The Pune Airport was declared as a customs airport in January 1997 for the export of specified goods. With effect from 12 December 2005, Pune Airport was certified as an international airport for the clearance of passengers and baggage. International flights to Dubai and Singapore commenced by Indian (Previously Indian Airlines) in 2005. These flights however were cancelled later. In 2004–05, Pune Airport handled about 165 passengers a day or around 60,000 a year. It increased to 250 passengers a day in 2005–06. There was a sharp rise in 2006–07 when passengers reached 4,309 a day (1,500,000 a year) and more than 2.8 million passengers a year in 2010– 2011 (about 8,000 passengers a day).
A ₹ 1 billion airport modernisation plan was launched in August 2008 ahead of the Commonwealth Youth Games hosted by Pune. AAI constructed two new terminal buildings for international passenger departures and arrivals, measuring nearly 12,000 sqm on either side of the 6,500 sqm old main terminal building which was inadequate for the increase in passengers and flight operations. The new buildings have helped ease peak-time pressure of air passengers. Facilities developed on the air side include a new parallel taxi track and an apron expanded to accommodate eight Airbus A320 or Boeing 737 aircraft. Two aerobridges were also commissioned in 2011. New conveyor belts and passenger facilities including a modern spa were also commissioned.
The Airports Authority of India will invest nearly ₹ 200 million in 2012 for various expansion projects at the airport, include a 3-storey administrative complex located near the entrance of the airport terminal building, new hangars for small private aircraft and a canopy on the city side of the airport terminal building.
All the offices of the AAI and the Central Industrial Security Force will move to the new administrative block, creating more space in the terminal building. The building will also house a VIP lounge with independent access to the airport terminal building. The airport power sub-station near the entrance gate will also be shifted to the new building this freeing up more space for developing passenger amenities.
The runway is also under renovation and will be extended to 3,250m (10,662 feet) from the current length of 2,600m. After completion of the ongoing renovation work, the airport will be able to handle larger aircraft than currently possible. The Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt currently must stop to refuel due to payload constraints at Pune, arising out of the short runway. The flight departs from Pune Airport with partially filled fuel tanks and refuels again on the way. An Instrument Landing System (ILS) has also been proposed to ensure smooth takeoffs and landings even in deteriorated weather conditions.
Airlines and destinations
There is a proposal of creating an international cargo facility from this airport. This project will enable foreign cargo operators to operate to Pune. Pune was declared as customs airport on 17 January 1997, primary for exporting perishable agricultural products. This project will also help to attract of foreign airlines to operate to Pune. For instance Silk Air a subsidiary of the Singapore Airlines wants to operate non-stop from Singapore to Pune. This 600 sqm terminal will be located adjacent to the new arrival terminal.
Extending Runway length
A plan for the extension of runway at Lohegaon airport still stuck over acquisition of a private plot on the airport's western side, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has now requested the Indian Air Force (IAF) to carry out the proposed expansion on the eastern side, on land owned by the air force. This project is very important for Pune city considering the growth in air traffic. Since the Purandar airport may take a few years to come up, the capacity of Lohegaon airport to handle traffic has to be increased. One of the major constraints the airport faces today is the short runway length. It has been proposed to extend the length of the runway to 10,662 feet or approx. 3250 meters. The extension of the runway is critical for the operation of widebody aircraft like Airbus A330 and Boeing 777, which carry more passengers compared to narrowbodies like Airbus 319s, 320s and Boeing 737s that currently operate from the airport.
Proposal for new airport
Due to the limited expansion options available, the airport will not be able to cope with the growing demand for air traffic into Pune. Hence, a greenfield airport for the Pune metropolitan region has been proposed. The Government of Maharashtra has entrusted the responsibility to Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) for executing the Pune International Airport project. Probable sites for this project had earlier included areas around Talegaon Dabhade and Saswad near Pune. An area between Chakan and Rajgurunagar, around the villages of Chandus and Shiroli was under consideration. However, due to land acquisition issues, a new site further west of this site, around the villages of Askhed Budrukh, Koye, Kurunde and Piet was decided upon. This greenfield airport will cover 1,800 hectares and will have two runways. MADC requested proposals from consultants to conduct techno-economic feasibility studies, assist in obtaining the required statutory approvals and provide project management services. Work on this airport was expected to have started by 2011. The State Government allocated Rs 2 billion in August 2012 to acquire 1,800 hectares of land for the airport.
Pre-paid taxicab and auto rickshaw services to and from airport are available. Coach services to various key locations in Pune and private car rental services are also available. PMPML also operates airport shuttle to and fro from the city.
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Media related to Pune Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Pune Airport (Lohegaon) at Airports Authority of India
- Airport information for VAPO at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for VAPO at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
- Accident history for PNQ: Pune-Lohegaon Airport at Aviation Safety Network