Thursday, November 14, 2019

You may fly to Jalgaon, but the big question is: Will you land?

When a low-cost flight to Jalgaon was started in September, many plastic manufacturers and businessmen in the city rejoiced as it made it easy for them to travel to the Maharashtrian city for business.
But the joy was short-lived. In the past two months, flights between Ahmedabad and Jalgaon have been diverted or cancelled as many as 15 times due to “visibility issues” caused by lack of instrument landing. This has caused a lot of heartburn for Amdavadis who were forced to re-schedule trips or take a train, defeating the purpose of introducing the flight. 
Flights to Jalgaon were added under UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik), a government initiative aimed at development of regional airports. However, Jalgaon airport still operates under visual flight rules, say authorities.
 Under this set of regulations, a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow her/him to see where the aircraft is going. The pilot must be able to operate the aircraft with visual reference to the ground, and by visually avoiding obstructions and other aircraft.
If the weather is less than ideal, pilots are required to use instrument flight rules rather than visual reference. Explaining the problem, authorities said, “Instrument landing is not possible at Jalgaon, so flights have to return to Ahmedabad or Indore airport due to visibility issues.”
 Jalgaon, which is known for producing bananas and cotton, also boasts of major industrial areas, cotton textiles and vegetable oil mills. It also has a flourishing gold market. Its trade link with Ahmedabad is so thriving that daily flights to Jalgaon are almost full. But the frequent diversions and cancellations have led to ruckus at both the airports.
 14/11/19 Vishal Patadiya/Ahmedabad Mirror
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