Srinagar: Non-availability of the latest Instrument Landing System (ILS) CAT-II or CAT-III at Srinagar International Airport is leading to frequent cancellation of flights, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has pointed out in its report.
“The committee is dismayed to note that regular delays in flight operations and cancellations of flights occur at Srinagar Airport due to the non-availability of CAT-II or CAT-III facilities,” reads a report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
“The committee fails to understand the reason behind the non-installation of CAT II and CAT facilities at the Srinagar Airport in the present age of technology and that too at one of the strategic locations of J&K,” the committee said. “Some members of the committee faced a harrowing experience during the recent study visit of the committee to Srinagar as they were stranded at the Srinagar Airport due to the cancellation of flights amidst adverse foggy conditions. Availability of CAT-II or CAT-III landing facility at the Srinagar Airport could have facilitated the landing of aircraft in those circumstances.”
The committee said that the Union Civil Aviation Ministry had clarified that AAI maintains a Civil Enclave at Srinagar Airport while airfield installations and airside operations at the airports are maintained by Indian Air Force (IAF).
“At present, ILS Category I is operational and maintained by AAI at RWY 31 of the Srinagar Airport,” the committee said.
It has taken serious note of the inconvenience and delays faced by the flyers, especially Members of Parliament, and international and domestic tourists due to such deficiencies at the Srinagar Airport.
The report states that the committee hopes that the Modernisation of Military Airfields (MAFI) project which was a turn-key project would enhance the operational capability by facilitating air operations of civilian aircraft even in poor visibility and adverse weather conditions while enhancing aerospace safety.
“The committee feels that Srinagar, being one of the most attractive tourist places in India, is visited by a large number of tourists and the absence of CAT-II or CAT-III facility at the Srinagar Airport hampers the flow of tourists to Kashmir, which in turn affects its economy badly,” the committee said.
It said that the ministry should impress upon IAF to install such a facility at the airport at the earliest.
The committee observed that the MAFI project of the Indian Air Force should decide and cull out those activities which are primarily navigational equipment including approach landing systems, PAPI runway lights, threshold lights, instruments, and equipment where AAI and ATS have a unique advantage as they have been handling these systems across the country for over seven decades.
The Parliamentary Committee has recommended that a high-level committee be created with the Indian Air Force to cull out those activities related to navigation and landing facilities which are, primarily, in the domain knowledge with the AAI for civil operations.
The committee recommends that apart from this, the development of the rest of the infrastructure planned under the MAFI scheme may continue as envisaged, for greater synergy between civil aviation requirements and operational requirements of the Indian Air Force.