It’s official: 24x7 operations at Chandigarh airport from April 10
Airport will be closed for 5 hours every Sunday till September 30, thereafter it will remain shut every second and fourth Saturday for repairs.Updated: Mar 19, 2019 23:00 IST
With the runway expansion work nearing completion, round-the-clock operations are set to begin at Chandigarh International Airport on April 10. The Indian Air Force made the official announcement on Tuesday.
The 24-hour operations were held up so far as the runway length restricted the long-haul aircraft operations and the Air Force had not trained its staff to manage flights beyond 12 hours.
Expansion works include runway length upgrade from 9,000 feet to 10,400 feet, which will allow wide-bodied aircraft to operate from here and connect the city to destinations in Europe, US and Australia.
Suniel Dutt, chief executive officer (CEO), Chandigarh International Airport Limited, said: “With 24x7 operations, IT City and Eco City coming up in the region are expected to get a boost. Also, it will attract new airlines and improve air connectivity, which is necessary to bring in more investors.”
With the new facility, those from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Chandigarh will not have to travel for hours and then wait at Delhi or Amritsar airports to board flights to Europe and the US. “It was a long-pending demand. We can now fly to major foreign destinations from Chandigarh,” said Vaneet Sharma, director of a travel agency in Sector 17.
On delay, closures and landing system
On Tuesday, the Punjab and Haryana high court was also informed that the expansion work will be completed by April 9 and 24-hour operations will commence on April 10. Assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal informed the court that the deadline had to be extended from April 1 due to “inclement weather and some other unforeseen reasons”.
Mittal was referring to the Pulwama terror attack and the following air strikes in Pakistan. The local airport is used for both civilian and defence purposes.
Meanwhile, the airport will be closed between 8:30am and 1:30pm every Sunday till September 30, and thereafter it will remain shut every second and fourth Saturday of the month for repairs.
The HC was also told that negotiations between a private contractor and the Airport Authority of India on installation of CAT-3B instrument landing system — which allows aircraft to land in near-zero visibility conditions — are in final stages. The high-precision landing system will give further encourage airlines to start international operations from Chandigarh, which otherwise witnesses grounding of many flights during fog.
At present, there are only two international flights operating from here. Officials said once 24-hour operations begin, the airlines are likely to show interest as the region has a huge potential owing to a large proportion of diaspora having its roots here.
First Published: Mar 19, 2019 22:50 IST