The Hush Post: Chandigarh International Airport will be closed for air traffic from May 12 to May 31. The airport is being shut for carrying out repair and runway expansion.
The first phase of repair took place from February 12 to 26. The second phase of runway repair begins May 12 onwards.
As per the NOTAM (notice to airmen), no military or civil flights will operate from this airport from May 12 to May 31,” Chandigarh International Airport Ltd (CHIAL) PRO Deepesh Joshi said.
Though, the closure of airport will affect thousands of passengers, especially during the summer vacation.
The airport also caters to the Indian Air Force (IAF) transport unit based here. During this closure, the IAF had relocated its aircraft to other nearby airbases in north India.
The base was established in 1961. It has also been home to fighter squadrons that were deployed for the air defence of the Punjab sector.
With time, the base grew in size and operated heavy and medium lift air mobility aircraft like the ILyshin-76, Antonov-12, Anotonov-32, Mi-26 and C-17 Globemaster. The runway has been due for repair and expansion.
The reason for the closure is that an upgrade of existing navigational and landing aids and fitment of hydrant refuelling system for IAF aircrafts was to be dovetailed with the runway works. These would be only possible with a complete shutdown of the airport.
As part of Phase II runway would be extended from the existing 9,000 feet to 10,400 feet.
The end of Phase II, approximately by the year end, would permit regular day operations on an extended runway length,” the spokesman said.
“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. Completion of phase III is envisaged in the first half of 2019,” he added.
The enhanced runway length will enable operation of wide-bodied aircraft that will enable air carriers to connect the city with destinations in Europe, US and Australia.
At present, the airport handles traffic of nearly 30 commercial flights daily, including international flights to Dubai, Sharjah and Bangkok. The city is linked to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi, Jaipur and Srinagar and a few other cities in the domestic circuit.