The Union Civil Aviation Ministry has given clearance for international flights from Chandigarh International Airport.
The ministry gave Indigo and SpiceJet the clearance for international operations on September 6. Another private airline, Jet Airways, is still awaiting the nod.
Initially, all these three airlines are expected to operate flights between Chandigarh and Dubai and other Gulf cities. The airlines are likely to start operations by December.
SpiceJet and Indigo will operate direct flights between Chandigarh and Dubai, while Jet Airways has sought permission for direct flights between Chandigarh Abu Dhabi. The airlines are yet to decide on the air fare, timings and flight schedules.
Chandigarh International Airport will replace the old domestic Chandigarh airport as the region’s second international airport after Raja Sansi International Airport in Amritsar.
In 2011, the ministry gave clearance to Fly Dubai, a low-cost carrier of Emirates, for international operations from Chandigarh to Dubai but it remained on paper.
In June last year Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal shot off a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, asking him to immediately start international flights from the Chandigarh airport as fliers from northern states were left with no option but to travel to Delhi for boarding international flights.
In the letter, Badal reiterated his request to direct Air India and other Airlines to start international flights from Chandigarh. He wrote that air connectivity from Chandigarh had become all the more important because of the upcoming international airport at Mohali.
The issue of operating international flights from Chandigarh has been hanging fire since 2009. International flights would mean more staffers, which need clearance from the MoD. Most important, the airport doesn’t have night-landing facilities.