AIR INDIA informed the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday that it was going to start flights between Chandigarh and Bangkok four days in a week from May onwards for which the flight schedule was yet to be finalised. However, as planned earlier, Air India is yet to take a final call about starting of flights connecting Chandigarh and Singapore.
The information was submitted before a division bench comprising Justices S S Saron and Darshan Singh during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by the Mohali Industries Association.
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Appearing for the Air India, advocate Sunil Kumar Sahore submitted that Air India was in the process of acquiring more aircraft but the supply of aircraft had been delayed at the end of the manufacturing company by over a month.
Taking note of the submissions, the court directed the convening of a meeting within 10 days between the General Manager (operations) of Air India, representatives of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Intelligence Bureau to sort out the issues about “Hub and Spoke Policy” of Air India. Under “Hub and Spoke Policy”, Air India connects various cities in India with metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai before flying the international passengers abroad.
Also, taking note of the other connected petition filed by the Amritsar Vikas Manch seeking resumption of non-stop international Air India flights from Amritsar International Airport to London, Birmingham and other countries, the court directed Air India to file reply as to why the international flights cannot take off from Delhi to land in Amritsar and then take off directly for international destinations. The petitioner had submitted that as per “Hub and Spoke policy”, at present international passengers are taken by Air India flight to Delhi and they are made to wait there for even 10 hours before taking the next connecting flight to international destinations. The same issue was also raised by the Mohali Industries Association in case of the Chandigarh International Airport.
The court was also informed that after Air Force’s approval, the work of conducting technical feasibility study for construction of underpass at Chandigarh International Airport has been awarded to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the survey would be completed within 30 days.
The court also issued directions to the Central government’s coordination committee to convene a meeting by next week to take a decision on the acquisition of required land for construction of a parallel runway at Chandigarh International Airport and to sort out all the outstanding issues pending till now. The meeting will be held at Air Headquarters between the Director General of Defence Establishment, representatives of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Civil Aviation. The court also asked Assistant Solicitor General of India Chetan Mittal to personally attend the meeting after discussing all the issues with amicus curiae senior advocate M L Sareen.
Mittal informed the court that the new parallel runway would be CAT-III Instrument Landing System-compliant and would be used for military as well as civil operations. It was submitted that both the runways could be used in future simultaneously.
The court was informed that BSNL had completed all formalities to install WiFi facility at Chandigarh airport and the formal award letter would be issued by the Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL) within three days. A restaurant is going to start operations within 10 days after getting approval from CHIAL chairman. SBI is going to establish ATM in the departure area within a week and some other banks are expected to give their consent. Tender for the duty free shop would be uploaded on website by February 25.
The case was adjourned for next hearing to March 14.