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Chandigarh airport gears up for 24x7 operations Aims at becoming aviation hub for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal

September 26, 2018 05:47 AM


Chandigarh airport gears up for 24x7 operations
Aims at becoming aviation hub for Punjab, Haryana, Himachal
Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 25

The Chandigarh airport is set to become an aviation hub for Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh from March 2019 with 24x7 operational capabilities along with CAT-II landing facility and an expanded airstrip for facilitating landing of wide-bodied aircraft, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said today.

Infrastructure for wide-bodied aircraft will help the airport in connecting northern states with major international destinations, including London, New York, Toronto, Sydney and Europe.

The airport handles nearly 32 commercial flights daily, including flights to Dubai and Sharjah. The airport is, however, non-reliable because it was often closed for various reasons this year.
The expanded runway will be 12,400 feet long with effective take-off length of 10,400 feet, experts said. The modernisation of airfield infrastructure project, which includes installation and integration of CAT-II instrument landing system, air field lighting system and other infrastructure, is also likely to be completed by March 31 next year. The CAT-II infrastructure will allow flights to continue uninterrupted operations during foggy weather conditions.

To improve international air connectivity, Sinha requested Punjab and Haryana governments to follow Assam and Andhra Pradesh model and offer viability-gap funding (VGF) to airlines to operate flights.

“Any airline will commence operation if the particular route is viable. I, therefore, request the governments of Punjab and Haryana to offer some sort of subsidy to the operators to make routes commercially viable,” said Sinha. He was in Chandigarh to attend a CII conference on “Making India an Aviation Hub: Giving Wings to Aviation Sector in North”.

The Assam government has evinced interest in flying passengers to ASEAN countries from Guwahati by offering financial support. Andhra Pradesh also wants to connect Vijayawada to cities like Singapore and Dubai. They proposed to offer monetary support for unsold seats to operators.

Sinha said the Centre has committed about Rs 1 lakh-crore investment in the development of new and existing airports. Greenfield airport projects such as Jewar in UP, Hisar in Haryana, Ludhiana, Pathankot and Adampur in Punjab are part of this plan.

On the development of aviation in Haryana, the state’s Additional Chief Secretary (Industries and Civil Aviation) Devender Singh said Hisar is being developed as an aviation hub in the state. The state government has proposed a tie-up for flights from Hisar-Chandigarh to Shimla, Kullu and Dharamshala, he said.

Principal Secretary to Punjab Chief Minister and Secretary, Civil Aviation Tejveer Singh said the state is developing fully functional airports at Ludhiana and Pathankot. Halwara is being developed as an upcoming airport, which is expected to be functional in about three years, he said.

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