Infrastructure Ready, But No Nighttime Flights Yet: Dehradun Airport Amid Phase-2 Expansion

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In a significant move towards enhancing connectivity and operational efficiency, the inauguration of the Phase-2 terminal at Dehradun Airport marked a pivotal moment in its development. Despite the expansion, which rendered the airport ten times larger, a crucial aspect remains absent: flight services at night.

Presently, the operational hours at Dehradun Airport span from 8 in the morning to around 7:30 in the evening during the winter schedule, leaving a considerable gap in service provision during night hours. While security agencies maintain vigilance during the night, flight operations cease until dawn.

Pushing for progress, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has advocated for the introduction of flights during the night at Dehradun Airport, highlighting the necessity to utilize the airport’s advanced infrastructure, including the Instrument Landing System (ILS), for night operations.

However, transitioning to flights at night necessitates more than technical readiness. Additional amenities in the airport vicinity are imperative to ensure passenger safety and comfort. Currently, all operational flights rely on provisions from respective cities for essentials like food and water. With nighttime flights on the horizon, the airport must establish direct facilitation of these necessities to meet the demands of extended operating hours.

Moreover, contingency plans must be in place to address flight cancellations or delays. Adequate accommodation facilities around the airport are essential to accommodate potentially hundreds of stranded passengers until regulatory approval from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is secured for operations during the night.

Despite the absence of flights at night, Dehradun Airport has demonstrated its capacity to operate around the clock during VVIP visits and rescue operations. Notably, during critical rescue missions in Uttarkashi, the airport remained operational past midnight, facilitating vital airlifts of heavy machinery by military aircraft.

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