Sunday, February 10, 2019

Inefficient landing system at Srinagar airport causing suspension of air traffic

Srinagar: On Saturday, air traffic at Srinagar airport was resumed after remaining suspended for two days due to “poor visibility and snowfall”. The poor visibility is not actually so poor, as per advanced aviation standards, but because the airport has an archaic visibility system in place that even moderate snowfall and rain halts its operations.
The Delhi airport, which has the most efficient instrument landing system in India, operates even at 50 meters of visibility, but Srinagar airport needs at least 1,000 meters for an aircraft to land. According to Srinagar airport director Akash Deep Mathur, air traffic can only operate when there is at least 1,000 meters of visibility, which is an improvement from the 1,300 meters required till a few years ago.
“That is why aircraft cannot operate. It will remain like this until the system that allows aircraft to operate at lesser visibility is installed here,” Mathur told Kashmir Reader.
Since the beginning of this year, it was for the fifth time that air traffic was suspended at Srinagar airport. This is despite the airport having been granted international status 13 years ago. After snowfall stopped on Thursday, air traffic should have operated on Friday if the snowfall indeed was responsible for suspension of air traffic. However, it took two days for the airport authorities to resume operations. The delay caused losses of more than Rs 5 crore to travel operators, and also exorbitant fare hikes which prevented tourists from visiting the snow-covered Valley and students in Kashmir to miss their exams at centres outside.
10/02/19 Junaid Nabi Bazaz/Kashmir Reader