March 17, 2015 (AirportChandigarh.com): Confusion still prevails over the fate of international flights at Chandigarh airport. While the construction of the new terminal capable of handling international flights is nearing its completion at the airport, it is still not clear whether the international flights will actually commence right after the construction is over.
According to a recent news article in a local newspaper, the international flight operations may take another two years to start owing to the lack of adequate instrument landing system and other upgradations that are required. Currently the airport has Cat-I ILS, whereas in order to operate the flights in foggy weather and at night, at least Cat-II ILS is required. According to the newspaper, ILS Cat-II will be installed by Dec. 2016 and will be operational by Jan 2017, as per official sources of Indian Air Force. The runway will also be expanded by then
In the mean time, there is a possibility that mid-sized aircrafts may be operational flying to nearby international destinations, like Dubai. Wide-bodied aircrafts for far-off destinations will only be operational when the runway is fully upgraded and Cat-II or Cat-III ILS is installed.
According to another news article published in another newspaper a few months ago, Cat-III ILS (which may be even better) is likely to be installed by July 2015. Regardless of whether the first or the second version of the news about ILS is correct, it seems that only nearby international destinations may be accessible after the new terminal is completed within the next few months.
For people desperate to hear the good news about international flights commencement at Chandigarh airport, it may still sound good even if flights only go as far as nearby countries. However, a draft issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in November 2014 may allow only domestic flights to operate at the airport if it comes into effect. The draft proposed only six metros in India to operate international fights, which are Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad. This will help cut down additional expenditures and increase the profitability. Punjab and Kerala governments had strongly opposed the draft. The news about the outcome of the draft is still awaited.