In a bid to give fillip to Kashmir’s economy, the state government has recommended operation of direct international flights from Srinagar Airport here to Gulf and SAARC countries.
In its recently approved Master Plan of Srinagar metropolitan region, government has pitched for the upgradation of infrastructure facilities and night land facilities at the airport.
“The airport shall be made open to international aircraft operations under Limited International Airport Category especially to the Gulf and SAARC countries. This move is expected to boost the economic development of the State by way of promoting tourism, horticulture, handicrafts, etc,” reads the plan document.
Since 2005, when it was accorded ‘International’ status, the only international flights that operated from Srinagar airport were for Hajj pilgrims for 40 days a year.
“Srinagar is the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir and also the largest urban settlement of the State. It is one of the preferred tourist destinations in India.
In order to develop Srinagar as a global city, one of the key requirements will be to upgrade its air transport system as air transport has gained significance with increase in the number of tourists and the flow of foreign investments,” it reads.
“Airport located 10 km from city centre is the lone airport of Srinagar. Besides being strategically very important, the Srinagar Airport is among the first twenty airports in India in terms of percentage share of total passenger traffic. It is proposed that Srinagar city needs to be connected by air to southern and eastern states of India.”
The Master Plan proposes measures to promote air traffic at Airport such as up-gradation and modernization of terminal building reflecting the vernacular architecture to meet the future volume of air traffic; provision of a waiting hall outside terminal building. It also recommends up-gradation of night landing system for introduction of night flights and landing during poor visibility in winters face-lifting of main entry gate and provision of more lanes.
The documents recommends setting up of X-ray machines, development of a dedicated elevated corridor from Humhama Chowk to inside Airport main gate for hassle free movement of passengers; development of night stay facilities near the Airport.’