Jet Airways bid for Srinagar-Jeddah flight
Airline Ready For Midnight Operations
Srinagar, June 24: There is some good news for the Hajj-2011 aspirants. Commercial airline, Jet Airways, has desired to operate midnight Hajj flights from the Srinagar ‘International’ Airport from September this year—something which the Airports Authority of India is all set to explore.
Highly placed sources disclosed to Greater Kashmir that the airline—which has reportedly got the contract for ferrying Hajj-2011 passengers from Jammu and Kashmir—has written a formal letter to the Srinagar-based AAI Director on the issue. The airline, according to the letter, has sought to operate midnight Hajj flights from Srinagar to New Delhi and from New Delhi to Jeddah from September 29 to December 10.
“It is a very positive development. It has been a demand of the people of Kashmir which the airline has desired to fulfil. Now it is for the AAI and other stakeholders to see how best they can help in ensuring the revival of the direct Hajj flights from Srinagar,” the sources said.
The development, being appreciated by the stakeholders, comes in the wake of series of reports filed by this newspaper on the demand for revival of direct Hajj flights. In the past year, the Hajj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir complained of huge inconvenience due to indirect flights from Srinagar to Jeddah. The Saudi Arabia airline, which had got the contract last year, ferried the state-based passengers from New Delhi to Jeddah.
According to the sources, the AAI shall now hold extensive meetings with all the stakeholders to examine the Jet Airways’ proposal.
“There are hundreds of issues that are required to be looked into for making the proposal a success. The Indian Air Force, which mans the runway operations at the Srinagar Airport, needs to be approached for midnight operations.
Then there are issues related to security, manpower and infrastructure which need to be discussed in the light of this fresh development,” said an Airport official, insisting not to be named.
To begin with, the Srinagar-based AAI office is likely to collect all details pertaining to the number of pilgrims who intend to go for the holy pilgrimage this year. “And accordingly the arrangements shall be put in place. But before doing so, it is important to get feedback from all the stakeholders involved in the process,” the sources said.
Sources said the IAF, AAI, airline officials and the security staff must ensure revival of the direct Hajj flights. “It is not at all difficult to do. The only thing is that all the stakeholders have to get serious on the issue. The IAF, AAI and the security establishments have to cooperate and work in tandem on the proposal. The state government also has to step in and provide all the support, wherever required,” the sources said. “The Jet Airways has desired the midnight operations keeping in view the onward connectivity of Hajj pilgrims from New Delhi to Jeddah. The flights to Jeddah operate from New Delhi during the night. So the airline has given a best opportunity to the IAF and AAI to start midnight flight operations from the Srinagar Airport.”
Pertinently, the state government recently stepped in pitching for the revival of direct Hajj flights from Srinagar, raising the issue with the Civil Aviation Ministry. The government’s intervention came in the wake of inconvenience the Hajj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir faced last year as they had to make stopover at Delhi before boarding onward flight to Jeddah.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 24 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 24 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 25 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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