Chandigarh airport ready to resume operations from May 25
Though Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL) is yet to get any official confirmation following the civil aviation minister’s announcement, its chief executive officer says everything is in place and departure and arrival of five flights can take place per hourUpdated: May 21, 2020 00:38 IST
After a gap of two months, Chandigarh International Airport is ready to resume its operations with the opening of domestic sector from May 25.
Civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Wednesday announced on Twitter that “domestic civil aviation operations will recommence in a calibrated manner from Monday, May 25, 2020”. The airports were shut on March 25 owing to nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations... SOPs for passenger movement are also being separately issued by the aviation ministry,” he said.
Though Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL) is yet to get any official confirmation, its chief executive officer (CEO) Ajay Bhardwaj said: “We are ready for resumption of operations.”
“We are ready for departures and arrival of five flights per hour, but we have to wait for the schedule regarding the number of flights to become operational,” he said.
Bhardwaj said the airport office is working as it was before the lockdown and the entire security is in place. “Checking of passengers will be done according to the guidelines issued by the government,” he said, adding that sanitisation of the airport would be done as per the directions of the health department.
Air India airport director MR Jindal said: “We will wait for instructions from our headquarters. We are in any case ready as our evacuation flights are already operational. As soon as we get the nod, we will start the bookings.”
The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has issued guidelines, stating that passengers should carry a hand sanitiser, wear a mask and download the Aarogya Setu application on their mobile phones.
In the past two months, the nationwide lockdown has caused a loss of Rs 15 crore to the Chandigarh airport.
The main revenue of the airport is generated under the aeronautical category, whereby the airport charges Rs 800 per passenger from airlines. For instance: An airline flying to Delhi with 80% occupancy pays around Rs 65,000 to the airport per flight. Factor in the commercial revenue in the form of rent of retail shops, office space, car parking and advertisements, the total revenue under both the categories comes to around Rs 30 lakh per day.
Before the lockdown, there were around 44 flights connecting the airport to major cities across the country and two international flights to Sharjah and Dubai. The daily footfall, both arrival and departure, was 7,000 passengers. All this has been affected ever since the lockdown began.