Zero-visibility landing system at Chandigarh airport a step closer to reality

Centre tells HC all stakeholders have given the go-ahead

punjab Updated: Jul 12, 2018 14:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh international airport,Chandigarh airport,Chandigarh airport visibility
(Representative Image)

All stakeholders have given the go-ahead for upgrading the instrument-based landing system at Chandigarh International Airport to CAT-3B, which allows aircraft to operate in near-zero visibility, especially during dense fog in winters.

The Centre on Wednesday shared this information with the Punjab and Haryana high court, which was hearing the Mohali industries association’s plea seeking appropriate infrastructure at the airport.

Assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal told the HC bench of chief justice Krishna Murari and justice Arun Palli that the Indian Air Force, Airport Authority of India (AAI) and Punjab — the stakeholders — have cleared the proposal, to which so far they had only an in-principle approval.

The upgraded system will prove to be a vital facility at airport, where international operations began a couple of years ago but disruptions due to bad weather remains a major concern. Mittal said the cost of installation will be borne by the AAI while Punjab will pay the compensation for acquiring the additional land (0.6 acres). However, he did not specify any deadline.

The deadline for installing CAT-2 facility, which allows landing when visibility is 300 metres, is December 2018.

“CAT-3B facility, which helps operation in bad weather with visibility as low as 50 metres, will help during night hours, when most flights to Europe and United States of America run. Hence, it will attract international operators,” said an official. Most international airlines have CAT-3B compliant aircraft and trained pilots, he said.

As far as domestic operations are concerned, the official said the aircraft need to be made compliant to the facility and pilots are to be trained as well.

Objection to illegal constructions

Assistant solicitor general Chetan Mittal seeking the court’s intervention said that the Indian Air Force has noticed a lot of unauthorised construction activity in the vicinity of the airport, which needs to be taken note of by Punjab at the earliest.

Due to illegal construction, natural flow of drainage system have been affected, which would create problems in future, he said, adding that these issues were raised in a meeting with the Punjab chief secretary in January, but so far there is no visible change. The matter will be taken up on July 23.

First Published: Jul 12, 2018 14:24 IST