IAF wants Chandigarh airport shut for 9 months, Centre says no

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by manindra, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. manindra

    manindra Regular Member

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    Ajay Banerjee

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, June 27

    The Indian Air Force (IAF) has sought a nine-month closure of the Chandigarh air base, while the Ministry of Defence has opposed the long break in operations as it would cause inconvenience to passengers taking commercial flights that use the same landing strip.


    Militarily, it would not affect much as the IAF can temporarily relocate its Chandigarh-based fleet of IL-76 and AN-32 transport planes to nearby bases like Ambala or Sarsawa (Saharanpur).


    However, 25 civilian domestic flights daily would be affected and the expected commencement of international flights from the city beautiful, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, would have to be suspended.


    Top sources have confirmed, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has made it clear to the IAF that “nine months is too long a period to close the airport of a city which is the capital of two states”. He wants the IAF to work out a solution that prevents such a long closure and study the model adopted for re-carpeting of the landing strip in Goa, which is the Indian Navy’s biggest air base and home for Navy’s sea-going fleet of MiG29-K fighter jets. Parikkar has said the Chandigarh project must be done on a 24x7 basis to avoid a long closure. Among the north Indian IAF bases being upgraded under the modernisation of airfield infrastructure project (MAFI) project, almost none has commercial flights.


    Civilian flights use the same landing strip and a civilian terminal exist, while a new terminal, built at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore, is ready and awaits inauguration. The IAF uses the base to ferry supplies to forward Army bases in Ladakh, which have no road access during the six-month-long winter in the Himalayas.


    The IAF wants to strengthen, upgrade, re-carpet, expand and add new landing aids at the 9,000-foot-long landing strip at the Chandigarh air base under the ongoing MAFI project. It was in 1992 that the landing strip was last re-carpeted and since then the load of military and civilian planes has increased manifold, sources said. The IAF needs to use the base to operate the heavy-lift cargo planes, the C-17 Globemaster, a fully loaded plane of this sort can weigh 125 tonnes, including its 74-tonne cargo carrying capacity. Last winter, the C-17s, which are based at Hindon near Delhi, operated for some time from Chandigarh ferrying loads to Ladakh.

    Plans to upgrade base for heavy jets
    • The IAF wants to upgrade, re-carpet, expand and add new landing aids at the 9,000-foot-long landing strip at the Chandigarh air base to operate heavy-lift cargo planes
    • It was in 1992 that the landing strip was last re-carpeted at the Chandigarh air base and since then the load of military and civilian planes has increased manifold
    Parrikar against long break in ops
    • Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has made it clear that “nine months is too long a period to close the airport of a city which is the capital of two states”
    • He has asked the IAF to study the model adopted for re-carpeting of the landing strip in Goa, which is the Indian Navy’s biggest air base, and finish the Chandigarh project on a 24x7 basis
    http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/nation/iaf-wants-chandigarh-airport-shut-for-9-months-centre-says-no/99622.html#st_refDomain=t.co&st_refQuery=/vVqGeXdmWt
     
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