Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Posted at: May 23, 2019, 7:08 AM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 7:08 AM (IST)

Can’t fly places from city, rue passengers

Kaveesha Kohli
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 22

Residents and businessmen in the city, who often travel across the country and abroad, find themselves inconvenienced by the lack of adequate number of flights from the Chandigarh international airport. At present, there are only 27 flights from the airport, with two flights to Dubai and Sharjah.

According to Ashwini Gupta, a corporate consultant, people mostly end up boarding flights from the Delhi airport, which is a time-consuming process. Gupta adds that the Delhi airport has also become extremely crowded since it is forced to cater to passengers from across the region.

“Even if I have to go to Hyderabad, there is only one flight, otherwise I have to take an early morning flight to Delhi, which is so time consuming. We also have to go through security twice,” he adds.

“The problem arises because we have to leave for the Delhi airport at least 10 hours in advance. We also have to board a taxi, arrange for board and lodging, all of which becomes a task and also adds to the cost,” says Sanjeev Sharma, a visa consultant.

The case isn’t much better when it comes to connectivity within the country.

“We sometimes wish to hire people from South India. There is only one flight connecting us to Pune. So people are reluctant to come here, because of poor connectivity,” says Gupta.

According to businessman Rajeev Malhotra, even flights to Dubai haven’t been operationalised in a way that Dubai could become a hub for flying to European destinations.

“Two states and the Union Government have spent crores on the airport. However, they have one flight to Dubai, which isn’t very good either,” Malhotra adds.

The Chandigarh airport was supposed to cater to the region.

According to Sharma, who is also a Canadian resident, “a significant portion of India’s NRI population belongs to Punjab, who have to go to the Delhi airport even though Chandigarh is far more accessible to them”

“I have to take a 20-hour flight from Canada and then spend six hours in a cab to travel to Chandigarh,” he says.

According to Ludhiana-based businessman Aseem Balraj Sahni, the regional connectivity is a “massive issue” while travelling.

“I had to go to Jaipur recently. I could find nothing from the Chandigarh airport without long layovers. Finally, I had to drive all the way to Delhi, and then to Jaipur by air,” he adds.


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