Chairing Airport Advisory Committee meeting at Srinagar International Airport, Member Parliament Tariq Hamid Karra stressed on starting late night domestic flight operations in wake of the tourist season in Kashmir. It was discussed that for improved visibility during late hours the process for upgrading airport’s instrument landing system (ILS) from Category 1 to Category 2 shall be initiated. Unlike Category 1 which requires a visibility of minimum 1.3 KMs, the proposed Category 2 ILS will allow takeoff and landing within a visibility of only 800 meters.It is pertinent to mention that since last two years of sustained efforts of the committee under the chairmanship of Tariq Hamid Karra that late night domestic operations at Srinagar International Airport is close to becoming a reality. The frequency of daily flights has improved from 20 to 34 and as per AAI the SIA will soon witness 42 daily flights. The house hailed the improved facilities like faster check in, free shuttle service from drop gate, improved hygiene, funnel guarding at the airport and people friendly security interface.
The Members of the committee took up the long pending issue of resuming International flight operation from Srinagar International Airport. The Airline Operators Association represented by Khursheed Ahmad responded that it is economically unviable for Airline operators due to less number of international passengers travelling to and from Srinagar. To which the Chairman said that the flights can be made economically feasible by adopting a via route and can carry a mix of domestic and international passengers. He further said that the matter has been already taken up with Ministry of Civil Aviation concerned authorities and decision is likely to be taken soon.It was also decided in the meeting that Chairman will take up naming Srinagar International Airport as Sheikh-ul-Alam, International Airport with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of home Affairs.On the issue raised by Travel Agents Association of India –JK Chapter Chairman Shamim Shah, regarding airport passes for the commercial vehicles; Chairman accepted their demand and felt there was no need of the permission.
As per the current norms the travel agents had to get airport pass from the tourist police at TRC for the commercial vehicle.Karra further said that Airports Authority of India (AAI), shall improve facilities at the Airport to make it more passengers friendly by providing complete Vehicle Scanner System and additional X-BIS machines at the Drop Gate and also by increasing the number of entry gates at the Terminal Building.Member Parliament further emphasized that airlines operating in the airport in collaboration with AAI shall offer free porters to facilitate the passengers/tourists during luggage checking at to the airport drop gate.Vice President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry- Gowher Maqbool proposed for improvement in the public address system “as the existing system is not audible.” Director AAI proposed that the airport be converted to a silent airport with written announcements and kiosks, to which the entire house agreed.
In wake of the perishable items like cherries, cut flowers etc being shipped It was also decided that Cargo house should also be made available with sufficient x-rays, cold storage facilitiess and custom clearing officers. It also sought establishment of a waiting hall for passengers and more aerobridges in the terminal building.
The meeting was attended by Mir Altaf Ahmad (Deputy Commissioner Budgam), Mehmood A Shah-(Director Tourism), Justice Muzaffar Jaan, SSP (AHI), Fayaz a Lone (SP Budgam), Yadav (Commandant CRPF), Shamim Ahmad Shah (Chairman TAAI), President TASK, Mushtaq (President Kashmir Chambers of Commerce), Manjeet Singh (AGM AAI), Mohd Iqbal Da (Senior Manager Air India), Khursheed Ahmad (Senior Manager Jet Airways), Joginde (Senior Manager Spicejet), Aamir (GoAir), Bismah Bashir (Indigo), Ab Aziz Guroo (President Taxi owners). Other members of the Airport Advisory Committee who attended the meeting included prominent citizens Gowher Maqbool, Dr. Gazala Amin, Ejaz Ayoub, G. M. Dagga and Sajad Shafi.The meeting was convened by Sharad Kumar-Airport Director, Airports Authority of India, Srinagar International Airport, Srinagar. (KNS)