With restrictions being eased and Covid-19 cases on the decline, airlines are announcing new flights that will connect Pune with destinations outside the state.
Over the next week, new flights to Surat, Ahmedabad, Gwalior and Belgavi will commence from the Lohegaon Airport. Airport officials said several airlines will announce more flights in the coming weeks.
Flight operations have consistently picked up since the last month with a gradual dip in Covid-19 cases and resumption of economic activities. On Friday, 65 flights were scheduled to operate (including departures and arrivals) from the airport — a significant rise from just 27 flights in mid-May (May 17).
On Thursday (July 8), 5,936 passengers arrived or departed from the airport. This number is expected to go up in the coming weeks. Currently, Pune has direct and connecting flights to Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Prayagraj, Jabalpur, Lucknow, Darbhanga and Patna.
“Since it’s still mandatory for flyers to carry a negative RT-PCR report while arriving to Maharashtra, people are a little apprehensive. Once this rule is rolled back, the footfall at the airport will further go up, especially arrivals,” an official with the Airports Authority of India said. The summer schedule charted a few months ago had made space for 108 fight movements.
On Thursday, SpiceJet announced 42 new flights of which three would benefit Pune. The airline will operate a new flight from Pune to Surat, Ahmedabad and Gwalior. The airline will be deploying its Boeing 737 and Q-400 aircraft on these new routes.
Shilpa Bhatia, the chief commercial officer of SpiceJet, said, “As travel demand picks up and leisure travellers step out, we are ensuring that multiple convenient flight options are available for all. Passengers will now be able to travel between key metros which will benefit both business and leisure travellers alike.”