New Delhi: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chandigarh International Airport has not listed a single international flight in its winter schedule that comes into effect from October 25 and last till March 2021. Besides, the number of domestic flights has been reduced from 36 to 29 in the latest schedule. Also Read - International Flights: Air India Announces Flights Between Bengaluru, San Francisco From Jan 11
For the past few years, several flights operating from Chandigarh International Airport remain grounded in winters due to low visibility. Also Read - International Flights: Vistara Commences Flight Services From Delhi to Doha | Details Here
Earlier on September 18, Indian aviation regulator DGCA had said that foreign carriers can operate their non-scheduled cargo flights to and from six Indian cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad — only. Also Read - Vande Bharat Mission Phase VIII: Over 763 International Flights Operated From 24 Countries, Says Govt
Notably, scheduled flights are those which get their schedule approved by the aviation regulator in advance for a period running into months. Non-scheduled flights are charter flights that are operated as per requirement.
Meanwhile, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that he has requested Aviation Secretary PS Kharola to call a meeting on the issue of boosting cargo flight operations at the Amritsar airport.
India follows a very liberal air cargo policy, the minister said on Twitter, adding that foreign and Indian carriers can operate scheduled international cargo flights from any point in India, including Amritsar and Chandigarh.
“However, there was insufficient cargo aggregation at the Amritsar Sahib airport. I have requested the Secretary @MoCA_GoI to call a meeting on this issue & provide all necessary assistance to the state,” he said.
In order to promote agricultural exports, the government launched Krishi Udan scheme in August under which landing and parking charges are waived by the AAI for each such cargo flight wherein agriculture product is more than 50 per cent of the total chargeable weight carried.
Amritsar Sahib, Adampur, Bathinda, Pathankot, Chandigarh and Ludhiana airports are included in the Krishi Udan scheme, Puri said.
India”s decision to restrict foreign carriers” non-scheduled cargo flights to major cities in India was taken to provide a level playing to the Indian airlines at a time when COVID-19 has significantly affected the aviation sector, the minister had stated.