Pune will soon have direct air connectivity with Singapore, according to Scindia
UNION Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Friday that Pune will soon get direct air connectivity with Singapore and air links to two other Asian countries are planned. At present, the city has direct connectivity with only one international destination, Dubai.
Scindia said the Ministry of Defense has provided 14 additional flight slots for civilian operations from Pune airport, which is a civilian enclave. He said that with the recent addition, flight slots will now increase to 116 (from 102 currently) on weekdays and 145 (from 131 currently) on weekends.
Speaking at an event organized by the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Pune, Scindia said her ministry would also work to help Pune improve its international connectivity.
“I was shocked to learn that Pune has only one international connection with Dubai. We need to increase it. I will make it a point to follow up on this. Connectivity in Singapore is our priority. Vistara has already postulated, we will make the process efficient,” he said, adding that efforts will also be made to connect two other Asian cities.
“The city was pushing for eight more slots from the Ministry of Defense as it is a civilian enclave. I spoke to Rajnath Singhji and instead of eight we were given 14 slots per day,” a said Scindia.
He said the Lohegaon airport terminal expansion works will be completed by August 2023, which will greatly increase passenger handling capacity. The airport’s multi-level car park is likely to be opened by Dussehra this year, the minister said. He said that although the project to create an international air cargo terminal is underway, it will only be ready by 2024. “However, we are increasing the cargo capacity in the existing facilities and it will increase to 43 000 MT compared to the current capacity of 25,000 tons.
Speaking in Marathi for much of his speech, Scindia said he had a strong connection to the city and used to visit Mahadaji Shinde’s Chhatri and other landmarks of the empire. Maratha in the city. “I promise you that if the city gives me the opportunity to serve it, I will do so with all my heart,” he added.
The Civil Aviation Minister said it was important for the state government to reduce the VAT on air turbine fuel (ATF) to somewhere between 1 and 4%. He said after follow-ups, several states and UT have reduced the amount of VAT, but Pune and Mumbai continue to charge VAT at 25%.
Newsletter | Click to get the best explainers of the day delivered to your inbox
“Maharashtra has always been a beacon of development and progress paradigms and policies. However, in this area it is one of the laggards. I ask the officials of MCCIA to go to the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister and ask them to reduce the VAT. Once that happens, I’ll give you what you want. That’s my promise,” he said.
He said that the city of Pune was a center of thought, economic power, religion and spirituality. “Pune is a city of wonderful people and lifestyle. He has a philosophy of caring and giving that was on display during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Scindia said.