Silchar, April 29: For the last one decade, the prospect of night landing of aircrafts has been hanging fire despite the creation of basic facilities at the Kumbhirgram airport. The final nod is to come from the Air Force which controls this strategic airport of Northeast. With the passage of time, volume of passenger and cargo traffic has increased manifold. And with that, the number of outgoing and incoming flights too have gone up. Apart from Air India, Spice Jet and Jet Airways operate their flights to different destinations in Northeast and beyond.
The night landing of aircrafts will ease traffic congestion and contribute to the operation of more flights and also the entry of other airlines to this airport. After much dilly-dallying, some possibility of operation of flights at night was raised on March 26, 2017 when the information from an aviation source indicated if everything went well, night landing and takeoff of flight from this airport would begin soon. It was then also known that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has ultimately agreed to operate night landing in view of the communication problem of Barak Valley region.
During monsoon, as it has already set in, the fear of heavy landslips that disrupt rail and road links, passengers on long and even short trips within the interstates feel helpless due to the fragile communication bottleneck. In order to cope with the high rush of passenger traffic and the public demand, all arrangements were made for night landing 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, Guwahati, Jorhat and Imphal by air. The services to Agartala, Aizawl and Dimapur are to be revived, the aviation source says.
But, after all this why should the problem stand in the way of starting night landing? However, during his recent visit to Silchar, S Narayanan, Director of Civil Aviation Department, in a chat with journalists did indicate that apart from further modernization and upgrade of passenger as well as technical facilities of the Kumbhirgram airport, the early operation of night landing flights would also be given priority. He said he would talk to the authorities concerned at Delhi and see that Kumbhirgram airport is open for night landing of aircrafts.