Over 80,000 passengers will have to put on hold their air travel plans from the city for at least 15 days next month as Chandigarh International Airport will remain closed for its runway upgrade work. The airport authorities have announced that flight operations will remain suspended from February 12-26 owing to runway upgrade work.
Chandigarh International Airport Cheif Executive Officer (CEO) Sunil Dutt told Chandigarh Newsline that the present traffic of passengers at the airport is approximately 2,800 per day. “For 15 days, the number of passengers who will not be able to use the airport will be around 84,000,” he said. Nearest airport from Chandigarh is in New Delhi and Amritsar.
Meanwhile, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday summoned the Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Ambala, regarding its direction to the Railway to run additional Shatabdi Expresses from Chandigarh to Delhi or adding extra coaches to the existing trains in view of the closure of the airport. The DRM, Ambala, has been asked to remain present during the High Court hearing on January 18 by the division bench of Justices Ajay Kumar Mittal and Anupinder Singh Grewal.
“The (road) traffic will run at a snail’s pace and the entire road (Chandigarh-Delhi) will get blocked,” the division bench observed on Thursday. Railway officials said on Friday that a proposal to run additional trains has already been sent to the headquarters and is under consideration. As per the Indian Railways booking website, by Friday evening, the seat availability in Shatabdi Expresses was more than 500 in each train.
There are six Shatabdi trains, which operate between Chandigarh and Delhi on a daily basis. Officials from Haryana Transport Department said all their Volvo buses are presently plying between Chandigarh and Delhi and in view of the airport closure, the department may take some additional steps. “We can run more buses, which are available with us, during the closure,” Additional Chief Secretary, Transport, R R Jowel told Chandigarh Newsline.