AS MANY as 12 flights were delayed at the Chandigarh International Airport on Tuesday mainly due to the Air Traffic Control (ATC) congestion at the airport, officials said. Tuesday was also the first day of newly announced watch hours at the airport, according to which runway is no longer available to the commercial airlines after 4 pm due to the runway upgradation.
Airport sources told Chandigarh Newsline the airport runway had to be closed briefly (for half an hour) twice on Tuesday for the landing and take-off of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aircraft at the airport. Modi was heading to Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh.
Sources said that a Jet Airways flight (9w489) from Mumbai which was scheduled to arrive at the airport at 11.55 am was diverted to Delhi as the runway was not available due to no flying zone because of the landing of PM’s aircraft. The flight later returned to Chandigarh after two hours from Delhi airport. Another Air India flight also got delayed by two hours due to the runway closure.
On Tuesday, of the total 26 flights which operated, according to Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHIAL), 12 flights got delayed. “The delay was mainly due to the congestion,” said an official.
In the evening, sources said that one more Jet Airways flight (9w2652) also got delayed by two hours due to a technical fault.
CHIAL officials said that on the first day of the new schedule, the operations were smooth. “We had put up additional facilities to deal with the rush at the airport. We didn’t receive any complaint from anyone,” CEO Sunil Dutt told Chandigarh Newsline.
He said that for the next seven days, an extensive monitoring would be done at the airport to find the possible gaps related to passenger facilities. “We have already deployed additional manpower at the airport. Additional boarding gate has also been started besides one additional security machine for the coming days. We will continuously monitor so that passengers don’t face any kind of inconvenience at the airport.”
The fresh schedule was recently released by CHIAL. In its new schedule which would remain in force from October 3 to 28, flight number has been reduced. The first flight now arrives at 7.10 am while the last flight departs at 3.45 pm. There will be no flight operations on Sundays.
CHAIL officials said after October 15, they would release winter schedule for the airport.