Srinagar: Government of India has removed the 30 per cent “load penalty” on airlines operating to Jammu airport.
“Till now there were restrictions with regard to flight operations at the Jammu airport. The 30 per cent load penalty restricted the number of passengers an aircraft could carry to 70% but its removal is a big breather for the aviation sector in this region", said an official, adding that now the airplanes to fly full capacity.
He said during the imposition of the load penalty, the airlines had to “maintain a particular take-off weight which they could not exceed beyond it”.
“However, because of the extension and better strength of the runway at the Jammu airport, the earlier capping on the take-off load has also changed and now airlines can carry more load compared to the time when the load penalty existed,” the official said.
Officials say the increase in length and strength of the Jammu Airport runway, apart from allowing maximum passenger capacity, will also allow bigger aircrafts to operate at this airport. “The bigger the aircraft, the more will be its fuelling capacity. With more fuel capacity, now airlines operating from Jammu could also have direct flights to more far-off destinations. This will provide a major boost to travel as well as tourism to Jammu and Kashmir” the official said.
He said this will also encourage more Cargo movement and help in movement and supply of goods especially perishables and other trade related products.
It may be mentioned that Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M Scindia has recently announced that two new airport terminals will be established in Jammu and Srinagar.
Meanwhile, the administration is also mulling to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT) on the Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) for airlines operating in J&K region, from the existing 26 per cent to 1 per cent.
As cheaper fuel will reduce the operating cost for the airlines, they are likely to pass on the benefits to the travelers by reducing the airfares.
Speaking with Greater Kashmir, Principal Secretary Aviation, Jammu and Kashmir government, RP Thakur said the sharp reduction in VAT on ATF from existing 26 per cent to 1 per cent for airlines operating to Jammu and Kashmir, has "received approval in principle from the LG Manoj Sinha".
“The in-principle decision has been taken for the VAT reduction. Now, the final union Cabinet decision is awaited and once it happens, it will make the new VAT rate for ATF in J&K effective,” said Thakur.
Thakur said this will make ATF for aircrafts landing in Jammu and Kashmir much cheaper, which will increase the frequency of flights and help bring down the airfares as well.