Finally, the Chandigarh international airport set to go global with Dubai flight

As a petition filed in public interest on making the Chandigarh international airport fully functional after spending Rs 1,400 crore came up for hearing, the Bench of Justice SS Saron and Justice Gurmit Ram was informed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) that IndiGo would commence the flights in the forthcoming summer 2016 schedule. Finally, the Chandigarh international airport is all set to take off.IndiGo has confirmed the commencement of its operations on the Chandigarh-Dubai and Mumbai routes. Information to this effect was furnished before the Punjab and Haryana High Court this afternoon. An email from IndiGo to the authorities concerned in India was also placed before the Bench. It referred to a letter by the ministry concerned, asking IndiGo to utilise “unutilised traffic rights” on the India-Dubai routes allocated to it in the forthcoming summer 2016 schedule between March 27 and October 29. The email added: “IndiGo currently has an unutilised allocation of seven fights/1,260 seats per week in each direction on the Chandigarh-Dubai route and seven fights/1,260 seats per week in each direction on the Mumbai-Dubai route. “IndiGo hereby confirms that it will commence operations on the Chandigarh-Dubai and Mumbai routes in the forthcoming summer 2016 schedule, fully utilising the above allocated capacity entitlements within the summer 2016 schedule itself”. A status report by way of an affidavit of the Under Secretary in the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation was also filed by the Assistant Solicitor General of India, Chetan Mittal.It said the actual operation depended upon the commercial wisdom and economic viability of the designated carriers. The affidavit added: “Chandigarh is already a point of call for carriers designated by the UAE and it is up to the Dubai Civil Aviation authorities to permit its designated carriers such as Flydubai to operate between Dubai or any airport in India, including Chandigarh. “However, it appears that the Civil Aviation authorities of Dubai did not permit Flydubai, a designated carrier of Dubai, to operate to Chandigarh, within the overall agreed bilateral entitlements. “Flydubai airlines ought to approach the Civil Aviation authorities of Dubai to get adequate entitlements granted from them to operate on the Dubai-Chandigarh sector and the respondent, Union of India, would have no objection to the same.” Taking up the matter, the Bench questioned the delay in making the Chandigarh international airport fully functional. Mincing no words, the Bench verbally observed that the delay amounted to misutilisation of funds. The Bench also called for fixing responsibility for the delay and indicated at a CBI probe into the matter. The Bench was of the opinion that Rs 1,400 crore had been spent on upgrading the airport form domestic to international keeping in view the needs of the people. The airport was inaugurated way back in September, but was yet to go international. The developments took place during the hearing of a petition filed by the Mohali Industries Association against non-operation of the Chandigarh international airport. The High Court, on a previous date of hearing, had expressed the hope that the Union of India would immediately consider the requests of airlines to start flights from the Chandigarh international airport “as per the existing policy”. The Centre was also directed to submit a status report within two weeks.

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