In huge relief for the Punjabi diaspora in the United Kingdom and local industry, the Chandigarh International Airport is likely to start a direct flight to London by October. “The authorities had a meeting with the British High Commission for starting the flight to London. Proposals have been sent and it is expected to start from October, as the process will take nearly eight months to complete. The direct flight will most likely be to the Heathrow Airport in London or Birmingham airport, which is around 170km from the UK capital,” said Rakesh Dembla, chief executive officer, Chandigarh International Airport Limited (CHAIL), adding that the proposal was also being pushed by Chandigarh member of Parliament Kirron Kher.
Over six years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Chandigarh International Airport on September 11, 2015, the airport still has only two international flights – to Sharjah and Dubai, which were also stalled multiple times amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Dembla said the Sharjah flight was operational currently, while that to Dubai will resume from March 28, when the summer flight schedule will kick in. The detailed summer schedule is expected to be released in the first week of March.