Srinagar: The Central government on Saturday declared the Srinagar International Airport as a 'major airport'.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by Sub-Section (i) of Section 2 of the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008 (No.27 of 2008), the Central Government hereby declares the airport at Srinagar as Major Airport," said the gazettes notification issued by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
This comes just weeks after Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated Srinagar-Sharjah international flight.
An Airports Authority of India (AAI) official while speaking with Greater Kashmir said the status of "major airport has been given to Srinagar Airport after it witnessed annual passenger footfall cross 3.5 million”.
With this move, the Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (AERA) will determine tariff for aeronautical services at Srinagar airport.
As per Section 13 of the Act, the AERA has been mandated to determine the tariff for the aeronautical services rendered at major airports - the amount of the development fees including user development fee and the amount of the passengers service fee levied under Rule 88 of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 made under the Aircraft Act, 1934.
Under the AERA, the Centre can designate an airport as a major airport if it has an annual passenger traffic of at least 35 lakh.
The Central government is also empowered to designate any airport as a major airport through a notification.
For the non-major airports, these tariffs are determined by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), which is a body under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
It may be mentioned that with almost 12000 daily passenger footfalls being witnessed at the Srinagar International Airport, the aerodrome has of late seen an increase of 170 per cent air traffic compared to last year, officials said.
As per AAI data, from witnessing only 2500 passenger footfalls last year and even during April and May this year owing to Covid-19, the airport has recently seen a sharp increase in passenger influx. The annual footfall of passengers at Srinagar is expected to increase sharply from the current 3.5 million passengers in the next few years, for which the Airport is all set for a terminal expansion, a project likely to begin sometime soon.