International flights: defence ministry’s permission awaited
CHANDIGARH: Proximity to the air force station is proving to be a hurdle in carrying out various plans of the city airport and the upcoming airport in SAS Nagar.
Be it the delay in starting of the international flights or starting the construction work of the international airport, the air force station is causing some or the other delay.
Recently, the Air Arabai had announced to start a flight to Sharjah, however the same is yet to take off.
Though the airport authori- ties say that they are ready to handle the international flight, it is the defence ministry’s permission that is a cause of delay.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, airport controller HS Toor said, “We are ready to handle the international flight. We have also got customs and immigration clearance, but we are still awaiting permission from the defence ministry to the airlines.”
Authorities say any airlines willing to carry out international operations needs to take permission from the defence ministry, since the N-area falls in the vicinity of the city airport.
Following the permission from the defence ministry, the airlines need to get an approval from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Meanwhile, the defence min- istry is also holding up the development of the upcoming international airport in SAS Nagar, as it is yet to take a decision on whether or not it will part with the land, which is required for the expansion of airport.
In all around five acres are required for the expansion of the existing airport as well as for the upcoming international airport in SAS Nagar. However the defence ministry is yet to take a final call on the matter.
Another major issue, which involves the air force station, is the watch-out hours at the city airport.
Watch-out hours are the time during which various flights can take off and land at the airport. As of now the same is from 7 am to 7: 30 pm. The airport authorities for long have been requesting the air force authorities to increase the watch-out hours, but in vain.
On many occasions, the flights arriving from Mumbai and Delhi have to return in case they are late, as they are not allowed to land, which results in major harassment to the passengers.
The airport authorities say they have been working out these issues with the defence ministry and hope that a resolution would be achieved soon.