Chandigarh: The Chandigarh International Airport was closed for all air traffic on Monday for authorities to carry out runway expansion and repairs.
Flight operations will remain suspended from February 12 to 26, an airport official said on Monday. The 15-day closure of the airport will roughly affect over 80,000 passengers, an official said.
Flight operations will resume on February 27.
Airport Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sunil Dutt said the runway was being upgraded to increase its length from 9,000 feet to 10,400 feet to enable operation of wide-bodied aircrafts.
This would better enable air carriers to connect the city with destinations in Europe, the US and Australia in the future.
The airport is a defence facility and is controlled by the Indian Air Force (IAF) which operates a transport squadron here.
Commercial flights use the same runway at this airport, which handles nearly 30 commercial flights daily, including international flights to Dubai, Sharjah and Bangkok.
The city is linked to Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Srinagar, Jaipur and a few other cities in the domestic circuit.
The nearest civilian airports to Chandigarh are Delhi and Amritsar – both around 250 km away.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked railway officials about the alternate arrangements being made by them to cater to the increased rush of passengers on various trains due to the airport closure.
Railway authorities have said that additional coaches were being added to existing trains to cater to the increased demand.
Chandigarh is linked to New Delhi through three Shatabdi Express trains from each side. Other trains link the city with Delhi and other destinations.