Facilities still not in place for international flights from Chandigarh International Airport

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The Union of India, on Thursday, had to once again face the annoyance of the division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court for the delay in launching the international airport. The Division Bench of the High Court was upset after being told by Indigo Airlines that the Airport Authority of India was yet to provide it with a slot for launching flight.

The AAI told the Court that a slot had been provided and the other facilities required by the Airlines would be provided within the next 48 hours.

The Bench also held that even after almost a year of inauguration of the airport by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not even a single international flight had taken off from the airport.

The Bench asserted “the issue was a matter of emotions for the people who had high expectations. In fact, letters were being received for making the international airport fully functional.’

As the case came up for resumed hearing, the Bench of Justice S.S. Saron and Justice Lisa Gill also called for opinion of technical experts on the issue of  installing CAT-III system for landing during winters and resurfacing of the runway for the landing of bigger airplanes.

The Bench was informed that the process or resurfacing would be completed by the first quarter of 2018. Responding to the Court query on the duration for completion of work, the Centre told the Bench that the airport would have to be shut for the purpose, which was not possible. The Bench also asked Air India to come out with the time-table of the international flight it proposed to launch from here.

The Bench, on a previous date of hearing, was informed by the Airport Authority of India that the Indigo would commence the flights in the forthcoming summer 2016 schedule.

An email from Indigo to the authorities concerned in India was also placed before the Bench. It referred to a letter by the Ministry concerned, asking IndiGo to utilise “unutilised traffic rights” on the India-Dubai routes allocated to it in the forthcoming summer 2016 schedule between March 27 and October 29.

The email added: “IndiGo currently has an unutilised allocation of seven fights/1260 seats per week in each direction on the Chandigarh-Dubai route and seven fights/ 1260 seats per week in each direction on the Mumbai-Dubai route.

“IndiGo hereby confirms that it will commence operations on the Chandigarh-Dubai and Mumbai routes in the forthcoming summer 2016 schedule, fully utilising the above allocated capacity entitlements within the summer 2016 schedule itself”.

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