A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Chandigarh international airport, the city will have the first taste of international flights with the arrival of an Air India Express flight from Sharjah at the Chandigarh international airport on Thursday at 5.15pm.
The much more awaited inaugural departure flight — on a 186-seat new Boeing aircraft 737-800 with all-economy seats — takes off at 6.15pm and lands in Sharjah at 8pm (the time there) after a travel time of 3 hours and 15 minutes. There is a time difference of an hour and 30 minutes between India and Sharjah. Air India Express is the low-cost subsidiary of Air India. A return ticket, as of now, is priced at Rs 9,500.
The flight will run three times a week — Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Mohali Industries Association, the petitioner, that had filed a case for start of international flights in the high court, will take out a car rally starting from the MIA Bhawan to the airport at 3pm on Thursday. Members plan to felicitate Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at the airport.
Sukhbir is leading a delegation of eight ministers, nine officers and five members of the MIA on the inaugural flight. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is sending a 18-member delegation.
The delegations are expected to hold road shows and meetings where areas of mutual interest will be explored to enhance trade ties. Air India Express will serve free on board food boxes, along with tea/coffee as part of the package to promote the flight.