For the first time, since it began its operations, the Chandigarh International Airport has started operating 36 flights on a single day. As per the latest schedule issued by the Airport Authority of India (AAI), the first flight arrives at the airport around 7.15 am and the last flight departs at 9.35 pm daily. According to the new schedule, the maximum flights that operates from Chandigarh is Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. While in 2006, only three flights were operating per day, the number has now reached to 36 after several airlines introduced flights to several new destination since last year, said airport authorities.
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Chandigarh Airport CEO Sunil Dutt told Chandigarh Newsline that this “is a good sign for the growth of the airport”. “Yes, the airport is operating 36 flights for the first time. Our goal is to introduce more flights from the city, so that it gets connected with rest of the country. Recently, four new direct flights have been introduced and we are getting an overwhelming response,” he said, adding, “The airlines should review their business plans from the airport because there is huge potential for them.”
Airport sources said that after launching direct connectivity to Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai and Leh, the authority has already approached various airlines to start flights to Goa and other destinations such as Kolkata, Lucknow,Patna, Ahmadabad. “Patna is an important destination because of the religious factor. We are approaching airlines about it,” said a senior official, adding that starting a flight to Goa is “difficult as slots are not currently available at the Dabolim Airport.”
Traffic statistics of AAI also reveal that International and domestic passengers at Chandigarh International Airport is increasing every month.
National Carrier Air India(AI) recently said that they are planning to start direct flights to Bangkok in May from the city. Besides AI, Jet Airways is also planning to start a daily flight from Chandigarh International Airport to Abu Dhabi (AUH) this year and the airlines would start a direct flight to Jaipur from next month. Airlines are also interested to start a flight to Amritsar and Jammu this summer.
In September 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the new terminal christened as Chandigarh International Airport in Mohali. It was constructed at a cost of Rs 1,400 crore.
More flights, less infrastructure
While the number of flights have increased, the AAI is facing a lot of criticism for lack of proper passenger facilities at the airport. The airport still lacks basic facilities such as WiFi, additional ATMs F&B [food and beverage], CIP (commercially important person) lounge among others. Airport Authorities officials said that efforts are on to start the facilities as soon as possible.