SILCHAR, March 20: If everything goes well, night landing and takeoff of flights from Kumbhirgram airport, 20 km from here, are all set to begin from March 26, according to an aviation source. It is to be put on record that in view of the long and persistent demand of the travelling public, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has ultimately agreed to operate night landing from the Kumbhirgram airport of Barak Valley. The communication problem of this landlocked region is well known.
During monsoon, heavy landslips often make rail and road links fragile. People on long distance and even short trips within the interstates feel helpless not only due to the communication bottleneck but also the high air-fares as air links remains the only alternative. In order to meet the high rush of passenger traffic, under public pressure all arrangements were made to facilitate night landing at this airport way back in 2012. The limited number of flights operated by Air India and Jet Airways now joined by Spice Jet during the day could hardly cope with the ever-increasing traffic density.
With the announcement of night landing facilities, hope was generated among the people about increase in frequency of flights and also the operation of night flights. It is also quite surprising that the benefit of ‘open air policy’ has not benefitted the people of this region so long. On the other hand, Agartala, Imphal and Aizawl airports have undergone not only modernization but also seen increase in the frequency of flights by both Air India and other private airliners. Along with the extension of runway, apron has also been expanded at Kumbhirgram airport. State of the art Instrument Landing System has also been set up.
Despite all these arrangements, the operation of flights at night has been held up by the Air Force in control of the airport on security reasons. However, with the state government led by Sarbananda Sonowal coming to power at Dispur, hectic moves have been made and the matter was taken up with New Delhi. Ultimately, Air Force has cleared the passage for night landing. With night landing facility becoming a reality sooner or later, IndiGo is also likely to join the fleet. Presently, Silchar is linked with Kolkata and Guwahati by air. The services to Agartala, Imphal, Aizawl, Dimapur and Jorhat are also to be revived, the aviation source says. The only hitch in starting night landing service is the deployment of CISF personnel.