Chandigarh, February 26: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has sought inclusion of Chandigarh in the list of cities notified for operation of airlines of ASEAN countries under the Government of India’s Open Sky Policy.

In a demi-official letter to Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu, Captain Amarinder Singh said the International Civil Terminal at SAS Nagar (Mohali) had been functioning for the last three years and was now set to launch 24×7 operations for wide-bodied aircraft with upgraded Code 4E status w.e.f. 1st April 2019.

The airport caters not only to the population of the Tri-City of Chandigarh but also to international passenger traffic from the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and even parts of Uttarakhand. The State Government would take all possible steps to support the growth of civil aviation and to harness its benefit for the overall development of the region, the Chief Minister wrote.

At present, the airport is unable to operate direct flights to international destinations in ASEAN countries, such as Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. As a result, passengers from this region have to travel to New Delhi for taking flights to such countries, which is not only time consuming but also causes hardship in the form of extra travel by road, Captain Amarinder Singh has pointed out in his letter.

Under the Open Sky Policy of the Government of India for ASEAN countries, 18 cities have been notified for operation of airlines in the country. At present, Chandigarh does not feature in these 18 cities notified by the Government of India. Pursuant to its scheduled upgradation to Code 4E, it becomes eligible for notification under the Open Sky Policy.

Urging the Union Minister to take cognisance of these facts, the Chief Minister has requested him to issue necessary directions to notify forthwith the International Civil Terminal at SAS Nagar (IXC) under the Open Sky Policy for operation of airlines to ASEAN countries w.e.f. 1st April 2019. This would not only help in reducing the travel time of the passengers from the region to such countries and connecting destinations, but would also help in boosting tourism, economy and attracting investments in the region, he has stressed in his letter.

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