Mad scramble for India-Pak semifinal at Mohali
By Rizwan Khatik - Sat Mar 26, 5:23 am
NEW DELHI: A mad scramble has broken out among the country’s jet-set to fly in and out of Chandigarh for the big India-Pakistan semi-final on Wednesday. Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials got requests from eight of the biggest corporates for honchos like Mukesh Ambani, Vijay Mallya and some high-profile politicians to fly in on Friday morning, a number that will only grow as D-day approaches.
But finding a place to park private planes at Chandigarh is proving to be as tough for these jet-setters as getting a ticket for the big match for a common cricket lover. So they are being ‘advised’ that their planes drop them at Chandigarh; fly to some nearby place like Amritsar or Delhi and return to pick up them up late at night with the defence ministry’s nod!
And whoever — depending on their importance — does not get permission to operate a civilian flight at night will have to stay in Chandigarh till morning or drive to New Delhi to fly back.
“Chandigarh is a defence airport used for civilian flights. There are three parking bays — two for A-320/Boeing 737 type planes and one for ATR — for passenger flights. Some planes used for schedule flights remain parked there at night. Also commercial aircraft movement happens till 8pm and operating a flight after that requires IAF clearance,” said an official. “We are advising all those sending their requests to fly in private jets to either get dropped and send planes elsewhere or speak to defence ministry for parking planes in the military area of the airport.”
Mukesh Ambani and wife Nita were among the gliterrati at Motera cheering the Indians as they beat Australia on Thursday along with the likes of Arun Jaitley, Praful Patel and others. The attendance for Wednesday’s huge semi-final is going to be much more star studded.