Airport authorities wait for airlines to sign up three months after ‘successful’ test for night flights in Srinagar

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Srinagar: Three months have passed since the Airports Authority of India (AAI) carried out a ‘successful’ test flight for kickstarting night flights from the summer capital and are waiting for airline operators to sign up, according to a report by Indian Express.

“Everything is ready from our side. The test flight in August was successful and we are waiting for airlines to come forward. Our job is to provide the infrastructure, which is ready at the airport,” Akash Deep, director, Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport, was quoted by IE as having said.

While talking to Free Press Kashmir, the director stated that one airline operator, GoAir had expressed interest to start night flights, but there had been no word as of now from other operators.

The Sheikh-Ul-Alam international airport is owned by the Indian Air Force, with the AAI managing the civilian enclave which includes a passenger terminal building and a civil apron. Deep has stated, according to IE that the IAF has allowed flight operations in Srinagar till 8 pm.

Night flights have been a repetitive demand for tourism operators to boost the sector and the economy. “We had even framed itineraries and offers with the starting of night flights in mind. The authorities initially announced that the airport is ready for night flights. But three months have passed, and everyone in the tourism industry here is disappointed,” Rauf Tramboo, president, Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK), said, as quoted by IE in the report.

The airport manages 30 flights that operate daily from Srinagar. At present, there are no international flights from the airport, except for Hajj operations.

“The DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) has approved the Standard Operating Procedure on night operations for Srinagar. However, operation of flights on any route or at any particular time is the commercial decision of the airline. There is no hold-up from DGCA,” B S Bhullar, DGCA chief, said, in the IE report.

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