Fog disrupts Srinagar air traffic, 11 flights cancelled

Air traffic resumes at Srinagar airport after over 24-hour disruption

Poor runway visibility led to cancellation of 11 afternoon flights at Srinagar Airport on Friday. 

“All flights’ scheduled after 2:45 PM could not operate due to a dense layer of fog, which prevented aircrafts from either landing or taking-off,” Director, Airport’s Authority of India, Srinagar, Santosh Dhoke told Greater Kashmir.

Dhoke said that of 25 flights, only 14 could operate on Friday. “Flight operations were normal in the morning but runway visibility dropped to below 600 meters in the afternoon. This is much lower than standard visibility required for flight operations. It disrupted air traffic till end of the day,” said Dhoke.

He said normal flight operations were expected on Saturday as weatherman has predicted improvement in visibility. “Weather forecast for tomorrow is encouraging. We hope all flights operate smoothly,” Dhoke said. 

It may be recalled that more than 60 flights were cancelled at Srinagar Airport last month due to poor visibility. Of these, 50 flights were cancelled on two consecutive days of 7 and 8 November due to Kashmir receiving heavy snowfall.

An official said, “Flight operations are disrupted every winter with visibility often dropping below 500 meters in December and January. In January this year, 98 flights were cancelled at Srinagar airport due to inclement weather.”

The Srinagar airport is under direct operational control of the Indian Air Force (IAF), which controls its air traffic and landing strip and also the facilities 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 controlled by the AAI.

According to experts, poor visibility on the runway can only be overcome by an upgraded landing facility. “The upgraded Instrumental Landing System (ILS) is the only way out to overcome the repeated flight disruptions. This system ensures that during poor visibility flight can land even if the visibility is 350 meters,” an aviation expert said. 

FOGGY CONDITIONS PREVAIL IN KASHMIR

Meanwhile, foggy and cold conditions prevailed across Kashmir for the second consecutive day on Friday. Vehicles on Srinagar roads could be seen moving with their headlights on even during day time.

Kashmir continues to reel under a cold wave for last few days. The weatherman has predicted that weather across Kashmir would remain dry on Saturday.

SRINAGAR-JAMMU HIGHWAY RE-OPENS

After remaining closed for almost 24 hours due to shooting stones, 270 kilometer Srinagar-Jammu National Highway will be re-opened for traffic on Saturday.

“The highway was closed for traffic on Friday, due to multiple incidents of shooting stones,” senior Traffic Police officials told this newspaper.

They said that light motor vehicles from both the sides would be allowed to move on the highway on Saturday. Heavy motor vehicles including trucks will be allowed from Srinagar to Jammu only, officials added.