Court asks AAI to install approach lighting system for better visibility
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday directed divisional commissioner Kashmir and DC Budgam to take appropriate steps for the relocation of brick kilns which create a hurdle for runway-31 at the Srinagar international airport.
The court observed that the presence of brick kilns on runway-31 adds to the minimum visibility during October-March period, so the kilns had to be necessarily relocated. The court also directed the Airport Authority of India to install approach lightning system for the available 300 metres land for runway-31, so that flights can land and take off even when visibility drops from 1300 metres to1000 metres.
The Airport Authority of India submitted that an expert committee, constituted by the authority, visited the airport and carried out site survey in coordination with Indian Air Force (IAF). The survey data for the lower land areas beyond boundary wall is yet to be received from Deputy Commissioner Budgam, and as such, a feasibility report for utilizing the land for installation of CAT-I approach lights will be submitted after the surveyed data was received, it added.
The court passed a direction to Deputy Commissioner Budgam to submit within a weeks’ time a report so that the Airport Authority of India (AAI) can take a call on installation of CAT-I approach lights. The lights can help minimize frequent cancellation of flights, especially during winters, at the airport. The airport has the ILS facility for ‘runway-31’ towards Budgam, but there is no approach lighting system to complement it. If approach lighting system was installed, the minimum visibility would be 800 meters and this would ensure smooth landing of flights at the airport during winters, the court was informed.
More than 200 flights were cancelled during first fortnight of January this year in absence of approaching lights system to augment ILS at the airport. So far as runway-13, towards Chadoora, is concerned, the court has been informed that there is adequate land available with the Air Force. However, the runway-13 does not have ILS or the approach lighting system in place. The court has already directed the airport authority and Air Force take a decision in this regard and report to the court.
The PIL was initiated by Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and on December 14 Chief Justice had directed its registration as suo-moto PIL. In this petition, the judge noticed that the AAI has, prima facie, failed to take notice of hardships and difficulties being regularly faced by the travelers.