M A I N   N E W S

International status for Srinagar airport
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 27
In a major incentive to the state of Jammu and Kashmir the Union Cabinet today decided to give its approval to upgrade the Srinagar airport to an international level from the present domestic status.

The decision was taken today at a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The declaration of the Srinagar domestic airport as international airport would offer improved connectivity and wider choice of services at competitive cost to the air travellers resulting in boost to international tourism and economic development of the region.

As part of the plan for providing international facilities at Srinagar airport the existing terminal building would be extended. Facilities would also be provided to accommodate wider aircrafts and more passengers.

There had been a long pending demand for the Srinagar airport to be converted into an international airport. Successive governments had been giving representations to the Centre for the same.

At present the Srinagar airport belongs to the Indian Air Force, where Airports Authority of India (AAI) maintains a Civil Enclave, for operations of civil flights. At present, international Haj flights to Jeddah are also being operated from this airport.

The terminal building is equipped with all modern amenities for passengers.

The building was earlier modified to facilitate operation of limited international Haj flights in February 1998.

As part of efforts to provide international standards at the airport modern and sophisticated communication and navigational aids had already been installed there. Extension and upgradation of facilities of the Srinagar Airport had been taken up at a cost of Rs. 59.50 crore.

Officials here said that the declaration of an airport as an international airport depended inter alia upon traffic potential and demand from airlines for operation of international flights.

The facilities which were needed at a domestic airport to be considered to declare it as an international airport included traffic potential, demand from airlines’ to operate on international sectors, availability of customs, immigration, health and plant quarantine facilities, cargo shed, adequate size of terminal building to handle international and transit passengers.

Besides precision approach runway and associated facilities such as night landing facility, instrument approach landing system, navigational aids like DVOR and bilateral agreement with the country where international operations were planned, were some of the other facilities needed.

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