HC summons Chandigarh Airport CEO over delay in international flights

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has, on Thursday, summoned the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Chandigarh International Airport Limited, on February 23, seeking a report over the delay in start of the international operations from the city airport, started with much fanfare in September last.

Legal

The direction came from the division bench of Justice SK Mittal and Justice HS Sidhu during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Mohali Industries Association seeking direction to start international flights from the Chandigarh international airport.

 

Senior advocate Puneet Bali, who appeared for the association, told the high court that even though the airport was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 11, 2015, it lacked facilities for aircraft landing during dense fog for which instrument landing system has to be installed. The airport has CAT-II ILS facility whereas it requires CAT III level ILS.

The bench was also told that the flight operations at the airport were conducted between 8am to 8pm as watch towers are operational during these hours only. While for international operations it had to be of 24 hours. The length of the runway is 100 meters short than the required for the landing of big aircraft, Bali told the high court.

Following this, the high court bench asked the CEO to remain present on February 23 and file an affidavit on the issues raised by petitioner regarding the installation of instrument landing system for uninterrupted operation during dense fog and the 24-hour landing facility for aircraft.

Chandigarh International Airport Limited submitted a report on the internal development of the airport and submitted that facilities such as canteen, installation of CCTV cameras, check-in counters, etc had been established and space earmarked for immigration facility.

The bench was also told that some airlines had approached to start international operations, but the name of the airlines was not specified and the counsels told the high court that an operator, Indigo, had come forward so far.

The affidavit reveals that though the airport was inaugurated in September Chandigarh International Airport Limited approached the customs department only on December 30 and again on January 13 to establish custom facilities, which showed the airport was not fully ready at the time of inauguration.

Not satisfied with the response of airport authorities, the bench asked Chandigarh International Airport Limited CEO to remain present on the next date of hearing.

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