Chandigarh : The Chandigarh International Airport will re-open on Friday after a 20-day closure for expansion and repairs. The city airport will operate 37 flights daily, including three international flights.
Four new flights will link Chandigarh to other places in the country in coming days. The city will have new connections to Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Srinagar and Indore.
A helicopter service linking Chandigarh to Shimla through a 20-minute chopper flight will also be launched from June 4. The service will be operated by the state-owned Pawan Hans Limited.
The airport, which is under the control of the Indian Air Force or IAF and is a frontline defence facility, was closed for all air traffic from May 12 till 31.
It was earlier also closed from February 12 to 26 for expansion and repair work.
The expanded runway will be 12,400 feet long with effective take-off length of 10,400 feet. The runway expansion and upgradation is being carried out at a cost of Rs 450 crore.
The airport will be available for night flight operations by February 2019, after expansion work of the present runway is completed in phases, Air Commodore S Srinivasan, Air Officer Commanding (AOC), 12 Wing, Air Force Station has said.
The expansion will enable operation of wide-bodied aircrafts that will enable air carriers to connect the city with destinations in Europe, the US and Australia in the future.
The Chandigarh base was established in 1961 as a major air logistics node of Indian troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. It has also been home to fighter squadrons that were deployed for the air defence of the sensitive Punjab sector.
With time, the base grew in size and operated heavy and medium lift air mobility aircraft like the AN-12, AN-32, IL-76, MI-26 and C-17 Globe Master.
The airport handles nearly 30 commercial flights daily, including international flights to Dubai, Sharjah and Bangkok.
The city is linked to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Srinagar, Jaipur and a few other cities in the domestic circuit. The nearest civilian airports to Chandigarh are Delhi and Amritsar – both around 250 km away.