The long wait of Chandigarh International Airport to host international flights to India still bears on. Though the airport has fulfilled all the formalities needed to operate international airlines, the matter is stuck in the middle.
Even after being awarded with the status of ‘customs airport’ six months ago and having upgraded its infrastructure a year ago, Chandigarh airport, India, is still not granted with the permission to operate international flights by the Indian Ministry of Defence.
In order to persuade international airlines to begin their operations from here, Chandigarh airport has invested around INR 800 million on 1,250 square metres to renovate its new terminal building which opened on April 14 last year. The airport also brought in many other facilities such as eating joints, a big lounge, cafeteria, ATM, advance parking, medical facilities and extension of parking area for aircrafts. The airport even proved its merit by effectively operating more than 300 flights in 72 hours counting international flights to India for those holiday makers who hopped into the country for the India-Pakistan Cricket World Cup semi-final match at Mohali last year. Yet, the international flights continue to give it a miss.
Chandigarh airport is replete with all facilities needed for international operations, still the petition of operating international flights has been stuck in the court of ministry of defence for six months, say the Director of Chandigarh airport Captain H S Toor.
In October last year, the low-cost international airline, Air Arabia proposed to offer flights to India with a connection to Chandigarh from Sharjah. However, as the runway and the air traffic control of the Chandigarh airport are controlled by the Indian Air Force, the international airlines have to take consent from the ministry of defence. As per the Internet sources, the matter is still lying with the ministry.
It is beyond doubt that once cleared to handle international flights, the airport will add to the comfort and convenience of travellers taking cheap flights to India to explore the stunning holiday destinations in the north of the country loaded with tourist attractions. The airport will also compliment the nearby popular international airports of Amritsar and New Delhi that currently most travellers buying tickets to north of India connect to.