The Jubbarhatti airport- located 2,196 metres above the sea level- in Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla is one of country’s riskiest table-top airport like Kozhikode.

Sharing their views after the Friday night’s fatal train accident in Kozhikode in Kerala, experts are of the opinion that the Jubbarhatti airport needs timely expansion.

It may be mentioned here that on an average, 12 to 15 unscheduled domestic flights land very month at the Shimla airport, apart from a heli-taxi service is also operated regularly from the airport under the Udan-II (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme.

We have raised the issue with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) a number of times, urging them to explore the possibility of expansion of the airstrip at Jubbarhatti for facilitating safe landings of aircraft,” informed a state civil aviation official.

“The runway, at present, is less than 1,200-metre long and its expansion is facing abnormal delays owing to the nearby forest area and private land,” the official further added.

It may be mentioned here that for the runway extension, the minimum required length is 1,500 metres which enables a 40-seater aircraft to operate as per the new safety norms.

“Landing aircraft at the Shimla airport is a challenge because of the gorges surrounding the runway,” the official added.

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