Saturday, October 13, 2018

‘Srinagar int’l airport not ready for night flights’

Two months after “successful” trials were conducted for night flights at the Srinagar ‘international’ airport, airlines serving this sector are dissatisfied with safety arrangements and unwilling to operate flights to Kashmir after dark.
On August 10, a “successful” trial run of a commercial aircraft was held at Srinagar ‘international’ airport after dusk following which the airport was declared “technically” suitable for handling night flights.
However, a group of pilots and airline executives recently met the union aviation secretary S Katoch in New Delhi and expressed difficulties in starting night operations at Srinagar airport, citing that the airport was not ready for night flights.
Senior executives of GoAir, IndiGo and Air India that had shown interest in night flight slots separately told Greater Kashmir that they have no immediate plans to start night operations.
A senior pilot of IndiGo, who was part of a survey conducted by the company in Srinagar to check feasibility of night flights and was present in the meeting with Katoch, admitted that starting night flights at Srinagar was a “challenging task”.
“Almost 150 people met the aviation secretary and had some serious deliberations. If it (night operations) were so easy this much of brain storming was not needed,” the pilot said.
The airline companies say safety standards required for commercial night operations are much higher than for Airforce that controls air traffic and apron areas at the Srinagar airport.
Airports Authority of India which controls just the terminal building has however given a nod to night operations.
13/10/18 Saqib Malik/Greater Kashmir
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