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Fog hits flights from Chandigarh, and no solution in sight till 2019

The Chandigarh airport that got a new terminal worth Rs 1,400 crore in 2015 still has no navigation system for operations during inclement winter conditions.

punjab Updated: Dec 14, 2017 15:39 IST
HT Corrspondent
HT Corrspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh airport,Mohali airport,flights delayed
(Representative Image)

Winter fog marked its arrival on Wednesday as two flights from the Chandigarh airport got cancelled and six others, including the recently started one to Bangkok, were delayed. This is not new here, but what worries that there is no solution in sight. Not until 2019.

The airport that got a new terminal worth Rs 1,400 crore in 2015 still has no navigation system for operations during inclement winter conditions. A glimpse of that was seen on Wednesday when fog engulfed the airport. The day was saved when operations began after 11 am.

Air India’s Chandigarh-Delhi flight at 7.25 am could not operate because the visibility did not allow the 70-seater aircraft to land at 6.55 am. Then the Chandigarh-Mumbai flight was cancelled at 3.20 pm because the aircraft was stuck with a Chandigarh-Pune flight that departed three hours late in the morning and could not come back on time for Mumbai passengers.

The state carrier’s manager at the airport, RK Negi, said two buses were arranged for passengers of the cancelled flight to fly them from Delhi instead. “The operations during winter season are always tough here but it is something beyond our control. We try to accommodate our customers in every possible way,” said Negi.

The Bangkok flight carrying nearly 40 passengers had to be diverted to Jaipur as it could not be allowed to land at 9.20 am.It only came back here at 12.30 before it departed again at 1.30 pm. Then Jet Airway’s three flights — all to Delhi before noon — were delayed for two hours. IndiGo’s 8am departure for Delhi ended up becoming 11.30 am. SpiceJet’s Delhi flight at 8.30 am too ran late by two hours. Air India’s Chandigarh-Pune flight was operated at 12.30 pm instead of 9.15 am.

And the foggy conditions are here to stay. “There is high possibility of thick fog cover in the next 48 to 72 hours. Then there will be foggy spells as the winter season thickens,” said meteorological department director Surender Paul.

“This is certainly bad news for us,” said an airline manager unwilling to be named. He said, “Hundreds of crores were spent on creating terminal, but the airstrip is yet not be upgraded to the extent that it can allow flights during days of low visibility.”

“The work has started but it will certainly take time. These things should have been done much in advance since everyone knew how weather is always unpleasant ever since air operations began here,” he added.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 08:58 IST