Monday, November 12, 2018

City a step closer to 24x7 flight service

Mohali: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has issued orders to the Air Force to create additional posts of Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel at the Chandigarh airbase to enable the recently commissioned Chandigarh International Airport to operate long-haul international flights. This is a step closer towards conducting 24x7 operations from this airport, an issue that has been embroiled in controversy and pending adjudication before the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
“The orders were recently received by the Air Headquarters and further process for posting additional air traffic controllers is under way,” said a senior Air Force officer. “We expect to have the manpower required in place by March 2019, when the airport upgrade will be completed for round-the-clock flights,” he added.

The runway and associated services at Chandigarh airport, which is basically a Defence establishment, belong to the Air Force and these are also used by civilian flights. Last year, the Air Force had initiated a major project to lengthen and strengthen the runway and install advanced landing aids to enable wide-bodied aircraft to operate from here.
Since the ATC was staffed in accordance with the IAF’s operational requirements and domestic civilian traffic was relatively low earlier, a case was taken up with the MoD to deploy more air traffic controllers here, so the airport watch hours could be increased for catering to the growing number of international flights, a large number of which operate at night.
12/11/18 Vijay Mohan/Akash Ghai/Tribune