Chandigarh airport runway expansion to finish by Feb, will allow night operations
Phase 1 will provide longer day operating hours for flights from June 1.punjab Updated: May 17, 2018 15:44 IST
Chandigarh International Airport will be available for unrestricted day and night operations and allow landing of bigger aircraft once the expansion of its runway is completed in phases by February 2019.
Speaking to mediapersons, Air Commodore S Srinivasan, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), 12 Wing Air Force, said the third phase of runway expansion will allow wide-bodied aircraft, such as Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Boeing 777 and Airbus 330, to land. Some of the work for a fully certified international airport will, however, will be completed by August 2019. But this will not hamper the day and night operations in anyway.
He said the second phase, involving extension of the runway from the existing 9,000 feet to 12,400 feet, will finish by November or December end this year. During this phase, while flight operations will continue during the day, the length of usable runway will be restricted to 7,200 to 8,000 feet.
Phase 1 will provide longer day operating hours for flights from June 1. Currently closed till May 31, the runway will see improvement of the bitumen surface of the runway through laying of eight separate layers of dense asphaltic concrete (DAC). This activity is presently being undertaken by around 700 workers at night and on Sundays.
The runway is being extended at a cost of Rs 450 crore.
Runway upgrade at Chandigarh airport, the biggest air logistics base and the lifeline of troops stationed in forward areas in Jammu and Kashmir, such as the Karakoram mountain range and its Siachen Glacier, is being completed in record time since its impacting army troops majorly, Srinivasan said.
Talking about the controversies floating regarding Cat III Instrument Landing System (ILS), the AoC said as part of airfield improvement, IAF is installing a Cat II ILS system, which will permit operations down to 350m visibility as compared to the current Cat I ILS system permitting operations down to 1,200 m visibility. He said due to its proximity to the hills, the visibility at Chandigarh was always better than that at places like Amritsar or Delhi.
He added that the IAF had asked the government for transferring the old airport apron and the terminal building area of the Chandigarh International Airport to it. “The main terminal building of the old airport could serve for the much required set up for air logistics, disaster relief, army movement, war activation scenario, etc., in addition to addressing the safety concerns of IAF,” the Air Commodore said.
Airport closed till May 31
A frontline defence facility, the airport is under the control of the Indian Air Force (IAF). It is closed to air traffic from May 12 till 31, impacting thousands of passengers during summer vacation. It was previously closed from February 12 to 26 for expansion and repair work. The nearest airports to Chandigarh are in Delhi and Amritsar, both around 250km away.
Annually 29,000 tonnes of material is airlifted from Chandigarh airport for troops deployed in the forward areas of Jammu and Kashmir during summer, while the quantity increases during winter. This is accomplished through 15-20 sorties daily, which are currently being carried out from Ambala.
First Published: May 17, 2018 15:32 IST