Srinagar: The much-awaited expansion of the terminal building at the Srinagar International Airport has hit a roadblock with administrative delays proving to be a damp squib. Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials told Greater Kashmir that work on expansion of the airport which was scheduled to start anytime at the end of this year has got further delayed.
“There are some procedural and administrative delays due to which the work on expansion of the terminal is getting further delayed,” said an official.
The terminal expansion at the Srinagar Airport, which is the need of the hour at present as passenger footfall has seen a sharp spike of late is witnessing delay. While the airport used to cater to passenger footfall between 8000 to 10000 on an average, the footfall has seen a spurt of late, owing to the tourist rush, the airport witnesses as many as 16000 to 18000 passenger footfalls daily.
As per officials even as the architectural designs for the new terminal building have been prepared, the modalities to begin the work on the new terminal building is moving at a snail’s pace.
When contacted, Director, Airports Authority of India ( AAI), Srinagar, Kuldeep Singh said all efforts were being made to decongest the airport terminal, of which the biggest measure is to come up with a new building. However, the Airport Director refused to give out a time frame for commencement of the construction work on the new terminal.
“ I cannot commit to any date but work will start sooner or later. We realise that with the increase in both number of flights as well as passengers,there is a need for a new terminal building,” said Singh.
Pertinently, 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 of 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. The airport witnesses operations of 45 to 55 commercial flights every day.
As part of its expansion plan, 10 new x-ray checking counters will be constructed at the entry gate of the Srinagar International Airport next year, Airport officials said. This will take the total number of x-ray counters at the entry gate to 16, which is likely to save travel time of passengers.
As part of the expansion plan, a new aerobridge (suspended, moveable tunnel which extends from an airport building to an aircraft), will also be constructed at the Airport.
Apart from the recently started international flights, in a major boost to exports of horticulture produce, handicrafts and other goods from Kashmir, an international cargo terminal facility at the Srinagar International Airport has also been started. AAI officials told Greater Kashmir that the facility is aimed to provide a thrust to exports.