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At least 100 domestic flights a day are expected to be canceled between January 18 and 26 from 10:30 am to 12:15 pm as part of annual Republic Day closure, the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) said. DIAL said it in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) on Thursday. The authority which operates Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) said it has sought to minimize the inconvenience to the passengers. Approximately 1,000 flights are likely to be affected over a period of nine days This shutdown will also affect around 15,000 passengers daily. This is for the first time that domestic airlines have been ordered to cancel their flights as till last year they were asked to reschedule their operations.
International flights can reschedule their flights during the nine-day period this year. On an average, Delhi airport handled 1,350 flights every day in 2017. According to officials, while the number of flight handled by the Delhi airport has been going up by 10-15 per cent every year, and the number of passengers by 20 per cent, there has been no corresponding rise in the airspace and terminal capacity, Hindustan Times said in a report. According to domestic airlines, the short notice to cancel the flights would anger the passengers and they will have to face the brunt even when it is not their fault. Until last year they only had to reschedule their flight timings which was manageable as passengers could fly, said a senior executive on the condition of anonymity, Economic Times reported. Airspace closures take place every year for Republic Day rehearsals by the Indian Air Force as well as VVIP arrivals and departures.