Aviation

Chandigarh Airport to reduce operations for upgrade, repairs

DELHI: Chandigarh airport will curtail daily flight operation timings starting October 3 for upgrade and repairs, a move opposed by airlines, which said they didn’t get adequate advance notice.

The airport will stop functioning from 3 pm to 5 am daily, airline executives said, reports The Economic Times.

The Federation of Indian Airlines opposed the plan and asked the Indian Air Force, which owns the airport, to shift renovation timings to night to minimise impact. Runway work will result in restricted operating hours, the federation said in a letter earlier this month. Airlines had planned to increase daily flights from 74 to 84 in the winter schedule and closure every afternoon will affect 28 flights, it said.

Reduction in operation timings will lead to a 35-40% drop in passengers and flights, the federation said. International and domestic passenger traffic at Chandigarh increased 42% to 216,694 in June, according to data on Airports Authority of India website.

The federation suggested Chandigarh follow the model adopted at Amritsar airport, where runway work was carried out between 8 pm and 5:30 am for a year, without affecting scheduled operations. Airlines sought at least six months advance notice regarding such closures and/or closure at Chandigarh from 10 pm to 5 am so as to minimise impact on operations, according to the letter.

This is not the first time airlines have objected to restriction of operations at defence-owned airfields that are also used for commercial purposes. Airlines said the country is reeling under infrastructure deficit and defence airfields add to the burden.

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