Flight disruption hits Cargo
Stakeholders perturbed as aircraft restrictions continue
Srinagar, Sept 4: Apart from the passengers’ inconvenience, the closure of the Srinagar ‘International’ Airport and the ensued restriction on operation of flights from the Awantipora Air-Base—25 kms from here—has drastically hit the Cargo services to and from the Valley, much to the disappointment of stakeholders.
According to sources, the Cargo service has received a severe jolt since the prevailing unrest in the Valley begun on June 11. As if it was not enough, the flights disruption has compounded the problem. “Normally the incoming and outgoing Cargo is handled by the Air India and JetAirways in particular and other commercial airlines in general. But since the Jet and Air India flights don’t operate to and from the Valley, it has severely hit the Cargo services,” they said.
Cargo worth millions of rupees is airlifted to and from Kashmir daily. The Cargo consignments include medicines, Kashmir arts and handicrafts, fruit, dry flowers, blood samples, Kashmiri carpets and a host of other commodities.
“We would normally airlift four tonnes of incoming and outgoing Cargo daily. On an average we would earn Rs 30,000 per day on account of Cargo,” said a Srinagar-based official of JetAirways, insisting not to be named. “We are certainly running into losses because of the flights disruption.”
According to sources, the Air India would lift the domestic Cargo of two tonnes daily besides four tonnes of international Cargo, fetching it millions of rupees per month. “This time because of the prevailing unrest, we would not receive heavy Cargo consignments. But after Eid, we would certainly fulfill our commitment to Cargo once our flights to Valley resume,” said an Air India official.
Interestingly, Air India would airlift the Cargo to Gulf countries as it had a tie up with international airlines. This time around, this service too has been hit.
While the Cargo includes essential items like medical supplies and machinery, even the arrival of Delhi or Chandigarh based newspapers, and some other international magazines and papers to the Valley stands disrupted. For the past two months, these newspapers have hardly hit the stands in Kashmir.
The stakeholders want resumption of Air India and Jet Airways flights to Kashmir. “It is unfortunate that such reputable airlines have suspended their services to the Valley. It has affected their credibility and claims on passenger care to a great extent. If the GoAir has been allowed to operate, what is the problem with other flights,” said Aashiq Hussain, who deals in the export of Kashmiri handicrafts. “We have run into loss of millions of rupees because all our Cargo would go to Gulf countries by Air India.”
Pertinently it is only GoAir which is operating two flights a day from the Awantipora aerodrome right now. “This time the Valley is already reeling under crisis which has hit all sectors of trade. Now the flights disruption is compounding the problem. Unfortunately, the Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to convince the Civil Aviation Ministry to ensure operation of all flights to Awantipora. So at the end of the day, it is the business community which is suffering,” Hussain said.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Sep 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 4 Sep 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 5 Sep 2010 00:00:00 IST
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