July 26, 2014 (AirportChandigarh.com): The union defence minister Arun Jaitley has approved international flights operations at Chandigarh Airport for the time being for Spicejet and Indigo airlines. This was communicated by him to the Punjab CM, Parkash Singh Badal who has been trying for the last several years to get the international flights started.
Jaitley informed Badal that the extension of watch hours at Chandigarh airport beyond 8 p.m. is currently under process, however as an interim solution, extended watch hours would be allowed as and when international flights get finalised.
Spicejet and Indigo airlines have already been given permission to operate international flights from Chandigarh airport. This means that whenever they are prepared to start international flights, they should be able to operate them after 8 p.m. as a temporary measure.
Since the official hurdles have now cleared, it is up to these airlines to get the ball rolling. It is likely that flights to Dubai and Bangkok may start in September. Before an airline decides to start a flight on a new route, several factors are taken into consideration including profitability, obtaining permissions for parking in the countries where the flights would be operating and fulfilling other official requirements.
It's been several years since the plan to start international flights from Chandigarh airport was announced, however due to one official issue or another, the plan never materialized. The number of passengers that are already using Chandigarh airport has been growing every year. Having the ability to board an international flight from Chandigarh will save several hours of travelling to Delhi or Amritsar airports - which are the only options available currently in order to catch an international flight.