The new terminal building of the Chandigarh airport, one of the ambitious projects of the Airport Authority of India (AAI), is yet to be completed. The work on the project was started on November 11, 2007 and the Planning Commission had set December 2010 as the deadline for the project. But sources said it would take another four to five months to complete.
Travel operators are of the view that the delay in completion of the terminal building is hampering the passenger traffic growth.
The new terminal building will have a capacity to handle 500 passengers at a time. With an estimated project cost of Rs78 crore, the new terminal building, with an area of about 12,150 square metres, will be fully air-conditioned, have modern passenger facilities, three aerobridges, visual docking guidance system, escalators, elevators, baggage conveyor belts, closed-circuit televisions and more.
They are optimistic that once completed, the terminal will be a boon not only for the passengers but also for the operators.
The space constraints in the existing building prohibit private carriers from commencing their operations. Also, according to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, once the building is completed, international flights could also be started.
The existing building at the airport can handle only 150 passengers at a time and once the new building is completed the old terminal building will be demolished. Also, at present, the airport is handling 11 flight per day and four airlines, namely Jet Airways, Indian Airlines, Goa Air and Kingfisher Airlines, are operating on the domestic route. “Once the new building is completed, we are hopeful that some more airlines will commence their operation to domestic as well as international destinations,” said a tour operators.
According to sources, there are proposals to initially start weekly or bi-weekly international flights from and to the existing terminal of the Chandigarh airport to Dubai and West Asia once the new terminal commences its operation and later these flights would be operational to London, Vancouver and other European countries as well.
Also, AAI and Punjab Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding for setting up Chandigarh International Airport which would be an extension of Chandigarh Airport. However, the proposed project will take time. For the proposed airport, the Punjab government has acquired 306 acres and 18 marla of land in Mohali. Initially, the Punjab government has shelled out the cost for the entire acquisition, and later on Haryana coughed up 50 per cent of the acquisition cost, in order to have equity participation of 24.5 per cent in the proposed airport, once the special purpose vehicle is made for the airport. While AAI will have 51 per cent stake in the project.
Besides having various passenger related amenities, the upcoming airport will also include the maintenance bases for the aircrafts, cargo hub, parking stands for wide-bodied jets, parallel taxi track, cargo complex and hangers for flying club activities and runway extension, if required.