Rs 400-cr Srinagar Airport expansion plan put in motion

Sources privy to the development stated that the AAI has set the ball rolling by floating tenders for the expansion of the terminal and runway at the Srinagar Airport.

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Jun 22 2016 1:38AM | Updated Date: Jun 22 2016 1:38AM
Rs 400-cr Srinagar Airport expansion plan put in motionFile Photo

To facilitate more flights and to cater to increasing rush of passengers, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has initiated expansion process of the Srinagar Airport here.

Sources privy to the development stated that the AAI has set the ball rolling by floating tenders for the expansion of the terminal and runway at the Srinagar Airport.

“Expansion of the Srinagar’s lone airport would cost about Rs 400 crore. Expansion programme will witness the floor of the area being doubled to around 53,000 square metres from existing 20,000 square metres,” they said.

 “There is dire need of expanding the area of the Srinagar Airport as the airport was constructed to cater to lesser number of flights, currently more than 35 flights are operating from the aerodrome per day,” they said, adding, that by increasing more space to the airport it would make the air travel hassle free.  

The Srinagar Airport is facing space constraints and inadequate parking area for aircraft landings and take-offs.

Sources said both the AAI and IAF have agreed to expand the airport “on left side of the existing terminal.” 

“The green signal from the IAF was a must as the runway is under their control, and without expanding the runway area, the expansion of airport won’t serve any purpose,” said a senior AAI official.

The expansion program of the airport has come just few days after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti flagged off evening flight from the airport.

The Srinagar Airport is under direct operational control of the IAF which controls its air traffic and landing strip and also the facilities of fire-fighting and crash activities, apart from the airspace. The terminal building where the passengers check-in and check-out and the apron area, where an aircraft is parked, is however controlled by the Airports Authority of India (AAI).

The airport, surrounded by dozens of villages and fruit orchards, is situated at a distance of 12 kms from Srinagar. Under the constant watch of the IAF, the airport is spread over more than 65 acres of land.

Officials said AAI is looking for consultancy to undertake the expansion program to upgrade the facilities so that it could absorb projected rush of tourists in coming years.

Talking to Greater Kashmir, Director Airport Authority of India, Srinagar, Sharad Kumar said that the AAI has initiated process for expansion of the Airport.

Interestingly, the expansion of this airport has been planned after the Union Tourism Ministry recommended its “upgradation”, stating that failure to upgrade its facilities would lead to “bad publicity of Kashmir tourism sector.”