Flights in and out of Chandigarh have already been curtailed due to the runway upgradation work at the airport. With no air field lights available due to the upgradation, there could be further disruptions in the schedules of airlines, as due to smog or winter fog, landing would become difficult without these lights even in the daytime.
Last month, the Indian Air Force, which manages the runway, changed the watch hours of the airport owing to upgradation work. The airport is currently available only until 4 pm for landings and take-offs. Airlines have curtailed their operations because of this.
Airport officials say that when airfield lights are switched on, an aircraft can land with 1,200 meters visibility. But without lights, the visibility has to be 3,000 metres for a plane to be able to land safely. “This winter is going to be tough for air travellers in Chandigarh. By the time visibility goes up to 3,000 metres, it will be time to shut down the airport,” says a senior official.
The winter schedule of airlines is likely to be severely restricted. Currently, there are no flight operations on Sundays at the airport. Since last week, the smog has delayed both departures and arrivals at the airport daily. Train services have been hit as well.