IAF withdraws Jammu airport closure order; restricted flight operations during runway resurfacing work

Jammu: The flight operations to and from Jammu airport would be restricted to seven hours for 41 days from March 10 as the Indian Air Force withdrew its earlier order proposing complete closure of the airport for 15 days next month for resurfacing work of the runway, officials said on Saturday.

The decision was reviewed and modified by the IAF in consultation with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) at a meeting on Friday following instructions from the Union Defence Ministry, the officials said.

A day earlier, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar chaired a joint meeting of IAF and AAI in Delhi and advised them to find a way out to avoid closure of the airport for civilian traffic after the Civil Aviation Ministry raised the issue with him at the request of Jammu and Kashmir administration.

The officials said the proposed complete closure of the Jammu airport from March 6 to March 20 has been withdrawn.

However, the flight operations at the airport would be restricted to seven hours daily from March 10 to April 19 to facilitate smooth work.

The Jammu airport would be available for the operations from 6 am to 1 pm with the last flight departure at 12.50 pm during March 10 to April 19, the officials said.

They said the Jammu airport would be available for operations as per earlier normal watch hours with effect from April 20.

In a communication addressed to Jammu Airport Director Pravat Ranjan Beuria, the Air Force Station Jammu had wanted complete closure of the airport for 15 days towards laying of the final two top DAC-II layers on the runway surface.

The order drew a strong resentment from the J-K administration and Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam lodged his protest with the civil aviation ministry and requested intervention of the Ministry of Defence in the matter to ensure that the resurfacing is carried out in such a manner that civilian air traffic is not affected during the day time.

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