SRINAGAR: The only reason Srinagar airport is not operating night flights is that airlines are yet to apply for approval from the Director General Civil Aviation (DGCA), an official said.
Director Srinagar Airport RK Shinde told Kashmir Reader that night flights will operate the same day the five airlines operating flights to the Valley are given a green signal by the DGCA. After the approval, he said, flights can be operated till 10pm.
This basic infrastructure needed for operating night flights is in place. This includes the required runway length, runway lights and adequate staff at the aerodrome.
The Srinagar airport occupies a small corner of the massive IAF airbase. The airport land has actually been leased out to the AAI by the IAF and houses the terminal building where passengers check-in and depart. The AAI also controls the apron area (where an aircraft is parked) while the airspace and runway control is with the IAF.
Earlier, IAF was reported to resist the operation of night flights for security reasons. However, Shinde said that IAF has no issues with operation of night flights. An official handout said on Friday that divisional commissioner Kashmir Asghar Samoon was informed that the IAF had okayed night flights in May 2013.
Five airlines– Jet Airways, Spice, Indigo, Air India and GoAir currently operate 21 day flights.
Samoon said night flights up to 10pm can be easily operated from Srinagar airport and the operating hours of the airport would be gradually extended in the near future when all the requirements for the facility are met.
In the meeting, Samoon was informed that the airport frequently hosts night flights from non-scheduled aircraft, state aircraft and some special flights. With the requirement of visibility of 1.3 kms, aircraft can land at Srinagar airport even during full moon nights.