Aviation ministry earmarks Rs 895 cr for airports in J&K

The Union civil aviation ministry has earmarked Rs 495 crore, Rs 323 cr and Rs 77 cr respectively for the modernisation of Srinagar, Leh and Jammu airports.

The work is to be accomplished by 2022. The ministry has set July 22, 2022 as the deadline for completion of development of integrated terminal building at Srinagar Airport, and September 21, 2022 is the deadline for completion of construction of new terminal building at Leh Airport.

The Srinagar Airport is facing space constraints and inadequate parking area for aircraft landings and take-offs. The airport is under direct operational control of the Indian Air Force (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, are 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 10 km from LalChowk, the city centre of Srinagar and is spread over more than 65 acres of land. The expansion of the 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”.

The expansion plan also includes upgradation of Instrumentation Landing Systems at the airport. Similarly, Leh Airport belongs to Indian Air Force (IAF), Ministry of Defence, and the AAI maintains a Civil Enclave for Civil Operations. The AAI has proposed to construct a new terminal building to cater for 600 peak-hour passengers for which 11.8 acres of land has been requisitioned from the IAF.