June 20, 2015 (AirportChandigarh.com): The inauguration of the new international terminal at Mohali by PM Modi was expected on June 19, however the excitement diminished as Modi cancelled his trip to Punjab. The new date of the inauguration is not yet known.
Meanwhile Chandigarh airport has soared to the top in the coutry based on a customer satisfaction index prepared by Airports Authority of India. Chandigarh scored 4.84 out of 5 points.
As per recent media reports, two airlines have been approved by the ministry of defense to operate international flights from the new airport. The schedule of the flights is yet to be finalised by the aviation ministry. It will possibly take a month for the flights to start after the new airport becomes operational.
The domestic flights operations will get shifted to the new terminal after it is operational. There are about 26 domestic flights that are operational at Chandigarh airport. The terminal is divided into two separate portions to handle international and domestic flights. The existing old terminal in Chandigarh was upgraded to handle a few international flights by spending approximately Rs. 80 crore, however due to one reason or another, no international flight ever took off from the airport. It is a poor example of how the taxpayers' money was handled, but hopefully the building will be put to some good use after it is vacated.
After spending another Rs. 475 crore on the new terminal at Mohali, it is now fully equipped to handle international flights, however only mid-sized planes initially. The reason being that the facilites like the runway need to be upgraded and expanded to handle big size planes that can travel long distance. This may take until Jan 2017. The international flights to countries that are not located too far from India are expected to commence soon, Dubai being on the top of the list.
We are expecting that the new terminal should start the operations next month in July. This means that the passengers will be existing/entering the terminal from Mohali, Punjab, instead of Chandigarh. Currently there are two main routes that can take you to or from the new international airport: one near the Mohali railway station connecting with the Aerocity Road and another one from Zirakpur off NH 64 and NH 22. Shorter routes from Chandigarh are expected to come up in the near future.
The new airport still doesn't have a name because Haryana and Punjab goverments have been disputing over it for the last several years. Chandigarh residents are also demanding that the airport should be named after Nek Chand, the artist who passed away recently. He was the maker of the famous rock garden in Chandigarh.