The Indian Air Force (IAF) is executing a multi-phase plan to upgrade operational facilities at the Chandigarh airport
The Hush Post: The runway of the Chandigarh airport will be available for night operations also by August next year, i.e. 2019 and by then, the airport would be a completely certified international airport.
A senior officer of the Indian Air Force (IAF) reportedly said that the IAF is executing a multi-phase plan to upgrade operational facilities at the Chandigarh airport.
Air Force Station, Chandigarh’s S Srinivasan, Air Commodore, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), 12 Wing, addressing the media said: “By February 2019, this runway should be ready for all types of aircrafts (including long-haul wide bodied ones) and by that time taxi links, dispersal area too will be ready. By August, you will have this as a completely certified international airport and its runway will be made available for day and night operations.”
He said that work regarding the entire runway of the airport is being done at a cost of about Rs 450 crore. Once it is completed, the airport would also cater to big aircrafts such as Boeing 787, Boeing 777, Airbus 330.
“The physical length of the runway will be 12,400 feet and what we call take off distance available will be 10,400 feet, which is good enough for all types of aircraft. I would say any aircraft below the Airbus 380 and Airbus 340 can operate on our runway. However, this would depend on expansion of CHAIL (Chandigarh International Airport Limited) terminal to house these aircraft and have requisite number of bridges and other facilities to handle big aircraft,” the AIF official said.
A report in the Economic Times said that the first phase of the runway repair was done from February 12 to 26 and the airport remained shut for all flights. The second phase of closure was from May 12 till May 31. As there were no civilian flights during this period, the IAF aircraft were relocated to alternative air bases in the region to continue operational tasks, the report said.
After completion of the second phase of runway re-carpeting/repair work in May, the effective runway length would increase to 10,400 feet from 7,200 feet. “The work on runway was undertaken in 3-4 phases and multiple layers of bitumen are being put. Additional ramp costing is coming to Rs 2 lakh per night as the runway has to be kept operational. If we close the runway for the entire year, then against Rs 450 crore, we would have saved Rs 250 crore, but that is not the option we have,” the IAF officer was quoted as saying.
He said that unusual weather conditions this month, including unseasonal rains, had made the runway repair work more challenging.
About the importance of this base, the IAF officer said: “This is the biggest air logistics base in India, more so for the armed forces. The entire sustenance of Jammu and Kashmir, starting from Srinagar, right up to the reaches of Karokaram and the Aksai Chin is looked after by this base. The military aeroplanes that operate from this base –you have the C17s, IL-76, AN32s, MI-26 and a host of other military aircrafts –that come here from different bases operate out of this base.”