By Kartik Kumar & Vivek Gupta
International operations from Chandigarh airport may take another two years to start, as the work on upgradation of necessary facilities will be completed only by January 2017. In a statement issued on Monday, the Defence Ministry said that airfield infrastructure at the Chandigarh was being modernised.
“As per official sources of Indian Air Force, ILS Cat-II will be installed at Chandigarh airport. It will be implemented along side runway resurfacing and is likely to be operational by January 2017. The runway is being strengthened with a plan to expand it up to 10,400 feet so as to facilitate wide-bodied aircraft operations, provided the MoD gives it an assenting nod. The work is expected to be completed by December 2016,” the statement reads.
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J S Balhara, Director of the Airport Authority of India here, said that he had not yet to receive any information from the Air Force authorities, but full international operations could start only when these facilities were ready. However, talks with private airlines to start flights to international destinations where mid-sized aircraft can be plied will continue, he said. The runway, which is managed by IAF and is also used for civil operations by existing domestic terminal, has limited watch hours, lacks advanced facilities like modern instrument landing system and a runway for smooth landing of wide-bodied aircraft that most international airlines use.
That means the new airport terminal, which is scheduled to be completed in the next four months, cannot be put to full use since it will be hampered by all these factors.