Chandi­garh’s in­ter­na­tional air­port re­mains a do­mes­tic one

Asian Journal - - Asia - By Jaideep Sarin

Chandi­garh: It got a fly­ing start, lit­er­ally, when Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in­au­gu­rated Chandi­garh’s new air­port ter­mi­nal in Septem-ber with much fan­fare. But Chandi­garh’s first step to­wards in­ter­na­tional air con­nec­tiv­ity seems grounded - at least for the mo­ment. The Chandi­garh In­ter­na­tional Air­port project, which was to con­nect the ‘City Beau­ti­ful’ to des­ti­na­tions like Dubai and other places like Bangkok, has not taken off and the city is un­likely to see any in­ter­na­tional flight in the near fu­ture. Though there were ear­lier an­nounce­ments, from the Pun­jab gov­ern­ment, that the Chandi­garh air­port would see its first in­ter­na­tional flight tak­ing off from here on Oc­to­ber 19, noth­ing hap­pened. The next date spec­u­lated on was Nov 19 but that too did not ma­te­ri­alise. The Chandi­garh air­port, which is op­er­ated by the In­dian Air Force (IAF) and is un­der the Min­istry of De­fence, does not have ad­e­quate fa­cil­i­ties for flights to land and take off in fog. The IAF au­thor­i­ties do not al­low com­mer­cial flights to op­er­ate be­tween 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. from Chandi­garh air­port. The air­port, which is a for­ward base for the huge IL-76 trans­port air­craft, is used by the IAF for air con­nec­tiv­ity to Leh, Srinagar and other ar­eas.

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