Chandigarh International Airport will remain shut for 20 days between May 12 and 31 after the first phase of runway repairs from February 12-26 this year. And due to this, it will affect over lakh flyers in the peak of summer.
Currently, the Chandigarh airport currently operates domestic flights to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Leh, Srinagar, Jaipur, Pune, and Kullu, including international routes such as Dubai, Sharjah, and Bangkok. But passengers can fly to Delhi or Amritsar in the absence of flights during this period. Both are around 250 km away.
Presently, 30 Volvo buses ply between Chandigarh and Delhi but much like the situation in February, securing a seat is bound to get tougher. The private taxi services will see a spike in business, charging 15-20 % more than their usual rates.
The Spokesman said, “These could have best been done with a complete runway closure, but considering the requirements of civil aviation and impact on domestic air travel. So, the Defense Ministry approved a revised plan, wherein the runway work was to be undertaken at night with flight operations continuing during the day.”
From May 12 to 31 that is phase II, there would be work to extend the runway from the existing 9,000 feet to 10,400 feet. It is approximately at the end of the year. And it would permit regular day operations on an extended runway length.
He added, “Phase III involves fitment of runway lights and other navigational aids. End of phase III would permit unrestricted day and night operations at Chandigarh airfields. Phase III will be almost completed in phase III in the first half of 2019.”
The runway length increase will enable operation of wide-bodied aircraft that will enable air carriers to connect the city with destinations in Europe, US, and Australia.