If things go well, you can expect a direct flight to Dubai from Chandigarh airport from July.
According to sources in Airports Authority of India, efforts are being made to set up immigration and customs facilities by April 25 as directed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday. The staff on these counters would be trained in two months. Meanwhile Indigo, which has already applied for clearance, is ready to start operations within 45 days after a formal clearance was given.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the airport on September 11 last year. However, international flights are yet to commence even as over 1,400 crores has been spent on new airport terminal and requisite infrastructure.
Earlier on Thursday, the division bench of Punjab and Haryana high court lambasted the Central government and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) for their failure to start international flights from Chandigarh international airport. “Use it for wheat storage, if you are unable to start operations. It is not the high court’s job to get into it (pass directions to start operations). Shift operations to old terminal and close the new one,” the high court bench of Justice SS Saron and Justice Gurmit Ram had said.
Recently Indigo and Air India had agreed to start operations. “It would take Indigo 45 days to start flights after customs and immigration facilities are in place at airport,” Assistant Solicitor General, Chetan Mittal had told the court in response to a petition filed by the Mohali Industry Association.
The bench had then ordered the AAI to set up immigration and customs facility by April 25.
The AAI counsel had then submitted a report that at least two months were required to train immigration staff, even if the facility was set up at the airport.
The Punjab government has agreed to give 17 officers for the purpose. The training is to be given by the Bureau of Intelligence (BoI). The cost will be borne by the Punjab has been asked to bear the cost of deployment for now and which will be reimbursed by the MHA.
Large number of people from the region have been waiting for the international operations from newly constructed Chandigarh International Airport.
The traffic for Middle East and North America is huge from Punjab and they all have to go to Delhi to take their flights. The cargo operations are also expected to give a boost to the business in the region.