Srinagar: With the foggy weather conditions leading to frequent disruption of flights at the Srinagar Airport during winter months, the government has asked the Airport authorities and airline companies for ensuring a better coordination during the winter months.
Sources said that the government has asked the airlines and Airport authorities to closely monitor and plan the flights as per weather forecast with proper coordination among all the departments concerned.
Interestingly, the flight operations are disrupted every winter in Kashmir with visibility often dropping below 500 metres in December and January. The ripple effect of any fog-induced delay in the morning often lasts for hours.
As per Airport officials, there is further need for installing/ upgrading ILS as the Valley mostly witnesses foggy days during winter months.
“Most of the airports outside have upgraded landing facilities which facilitate operation of flights even during visibility of only 500 metres. We need the same facilities for smooth operation of flights in low visibility,” said a senior official.
Meanwhile, the night landing at Srinagar airport has been in doldrums after the former government led by Omar Abdullah announced it. The Indian Air Force and Defence Ministry gave a nod to the operation of night flights at Srinagar Airport following public pressure and the state government decided to start night operations from lone airport in the summer capital from February 2016.
However, for the last around 20 months, the authorities have failed to install the facilities at the airport for the night flights. The flights often get cancelled at the Srinagar Airport during winters when there is poor visibility as authorities have failed to install facilities for night flights.
Few months back, several Hajj flights returned back from the Srinagar Airport to New Delhi as an airline company did not seek permission from the authorities for the landing.
Director Airport Authority of India, Srinagar, Sharad Kumar had said that the flights had to return to New Delhi over ‘non-seeking’ of permission from the airport authorities.
“The airline did not seek permission from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for landing at the Srinagar Airport. So these flights returned back to New Delhi from Srinagar,” Kumar had said.
Recently, the Divisional Commissioner held a meeting where it was decided to shut the brick kilns in close proximity to the airport.
“These brick kilns will not operate and remain closed during the months from November to April as the smoke emanated by them reduces the visibility in the area,” a document of the minutes of the meeting, reads.
“Installation facility for night landing is job of the Airport Authority of India. We can take measures at the district level whatever measures are required to increase the visibility. Let’s hope that closure of brick kilns helps in increasing the visibility,” the official said.
Pertinently, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had urged the government of India to include Srinagar Airport among India’s airports from where flights to ASEAN countries operate.
In a letter to Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pasupati, the CM had said the operation of flights to and from the ASEAN region to Srinagar would give the state’s tourism industry the desired push it has been craving for. “The operation of flights from and to cities like Kuala-Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok, Singapore and other cities in the region would have a positive impact on the local tourism industry and bolster the state’s economy,” she had said in her letter to the minister. (KNS)