The central government on Tuesday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that air operations at Chandigarh International Airport will be partially affected for eight months during the upgrade work in the runway.
Assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal informed the high court that for a period of eight months air operations will be restricted to 12 hours instead of 15 hours, the current duration of operation.
The information was given during the resumed hearing of a petition by Mohali Industries Association pending since 2015. Initially, the petition had sought start of international operations.
Mittal informed the court that it was for the first time in India that work would be carried out 24 hours a day at an airport without closing the operations. “It has been discussed in detail with the bidders. They have agreed to bring down this period of disruption from one year to 6-8 months….during these 6-8 months the airport would remain operational for 12 hours only,” Mittal informed the high court bench of justice SS Saron and justice Darshan Singh.
He added that this disruption period would commence only after eight months into commencement of work. As per earlier plan during the summer season(April 1 to October 31), the operations were to take place between 5 am and 1 pm and between 1 pm and 5 am runway work was to be done on weekdays. No operation was to take place between 3 pm on Saturday and 5 am on Monday. The airport was to be closed completely for 15 days each, twice during the resurfacing exercise. As of winter season (November 1 to March 31, 2018), the operation was to take place between 5 am and 3 pm on Weekdays and no operation from Saturday 3 pm to Monday 5 am.
Mittal also said that the upgradation work is estimated to cost Rs 400 crore.
Mittal also said that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is carrying out a feasibility study on connecting Chandigarh with the airport through an underground tunnel. The work will be completed by April-end.
Meanwhile, the Air India said that it was not in a position to change timings of a noon flight between Delhi-Chandigarh-Delhi stating that it was short of aircraft. The change in the flight gives better connectivity to and from Europe to those belonging to this region.
The high court also asked the UT whether it was ready to share the cost of security apparatus for airport with Punjab and Haryana, which costs Chandigarh International Airport Limited Rs 40 crore per year.