In a first, Srinagar Airport crosses 3.5 million annual passengers

In a first, Srinagar Airport crosses 
3.5 million annual passengers
An Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesman took to Twitter on Tuesday declaring the feat achieved by the Srinagar Airport.File/ GK

Srinagar: The Srinagar International Airport has recently crossed the milestone of 3.5 million passenger footfalls per annum while officials say this number is expected to further increase.

Earlier this month the status of "major airport” was given to Srinagar Airport after it witnessed annual passenger footfall cross 3.5 million.

An Airports Authority of India (AAI) spokesman took to Twitter on Tuesday declaring the feat achieved by the Srinagar Airport.

“We thank our passengers for reposing faith in us by flying through #SrinagarAirport Our annual traffic is now more than 3.5 million This helped us in being reinstated as 'major' airport once again by #GoI on Nov 6th this month. Our mission is service with safety” the AAI spokesman wrote on Twitter.

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.

It may be mentioned that the central government on October 6 declared the Srinagar International Airport as '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 move had come just weeks after Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Srinagar-Sharjah international flight.

Pertinently, Srinagar airport witnesses operations of almost 40 to 45 commercial flight arrivals every day. As per AAI data, the annual footfalls of passengers at Srinagar is expected to increase from the current 3 million passengers to 5.2 million passengers per annum

Considerably affordable air fares coupled with a drop in number of Covid cases has doubled the passenger footfalls and air traffic at the Srinagar International Airport this year, officials said.

As per the official data, the Srinagar Airport handled 16.25 lakh passengers between April and October this year, which is a record high for this period witnessed at the aerodrome. During the same period last year, the Airport had witnessed less than 7 lakh passenger footfalls.

Similarly, there has been a sharp increase in the air traffic at the Airport during the last seven months.

As many as 13,351 flights operated to and from the Airport during the last seven months of this year. Comparatively, only 5130 flights had operated at the Airport during the same period last year.

Interestingly, October- a month which usually does not witness much of air traffic due to lesser tourist influx and even lesser frequency of travel of locals- has this year witnessed a whopping 331914 passenger footfalls with as many as 2460 flights.

Speaking with Greater Kashmir, an official said the steps taken by the J&K government to sharply bring down Value Added Taxes and sales tax on the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) for airlines operating in J&K region to 1 per cent.

These decisions are part of slew of measures taken by the government recently to promote air traffic to Jammu and Kashmir. With the reduced airfare on account of reduction in Sales Tax and VAT on ATF, the air-traffic has increased which will boost both tourism and economic activities in the region.

It may be mentioned that Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia had during his Kashmir visit announced that two new airport terminals will be established in Jammu and Srinagar.

With an impetus expected from tourism influx this winter, the air traffic to Srinagar International Airport is expected to be one of the highest witnessed in the last several years.

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