• Chandigarh:Limited watch hours at international airport may hit 70 per cent civil operations, fear officials

    Around 70 per cent of the civil operations at Chandigarh International airport may be affected if the Indian Air Force (IAF) launches runway upgrade work by limiting the watch hours to between 5am-1pm. Airport Authority officials also believe that two international flights operating from Chandigarh Airport could also see a temporary closure as it is “impossible” to get slots in Dubai and Sharjah, as per the feasibility of the Chandigarh airport.
    Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the Chandigarh Air Force Station had recently issued a letter to all the commercial airlines operating from Chandigarh that the ATC anticipates starting the work for resurfacing, extension and widening of the runway and taxi tracks on the Chandigarh airfield from the month of April. The letter had said that the runway would remain open for commercial airlines only between 5 am till 1 pm during the resurfacing work. The letter was, however, later withdrawn.
    Last week, the Central government gave an assurance to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, saying that there would be no curtailment of flight operations at the airport because of re-carpeting of the runway in the months of March and April.
    A senior Airport Authority of India official told Chandigarh Newsline on Wednesday that if the IAF comes up with the same plans and limits the watch hours, the decision would hit the airport’s operations badly.
    “They have given assurance in the court. But, if in the coming days they come up with such a plan again, the AAI won’t agree to it as it would cause huge inconvenience to the general public. Several flights won’t agree to operate at the airport within those limited hours,” said the official. He added that two international flights are unlikely to operate, as it won’t be easy to get the slots in Dubai and Sharjah. Cortez Kennedy Jersey

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