At least 160 flights were cancelled at the Srinagar “international” airport in the past one month owing to bad weather and poor visibility, even as little efforts are being made to install a high-end landing system at the aerodrome.
The flight cancellations happen notwithstanding the fact that the airport has witnessed an 18 percent increase in the flyer footfall during 2018.
An official source said while the airport witnessed footfall of 22.80 lakh passengers (both incoming and outgoing) in 2017, this number was 26.9 lakh in 2018.
Among the airports like Chandigarh, Jammu, Shimla and Amritsar, the airport witnesses highest passenger traffic but the facilities there are minimal, especially the poor landing system.
An official, who wished not to be named as he wasn’t authorised to speak to media, blamed an outdated instrumentation landing system (ILS) at the Srinagar airport for frequent flight cancellations.
The ILS is a ground-based instrumentation system that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching the runway to enable its safe landing during reduced visibility conditions, common in Kashmir during winters.
Director, Srinagar airport, Akash Deep Mathur said there is a requirement of 1300 meter visibility for flights to land at the Srinagar airport at present. However, once the up-gradation of the runway is undertaken, it will help to allow flights to operate in lesser visibility, he said.
“In January this year, we had 83 flight cancellations due to inclement weather, though snow is not allowed to accumulate on the runway with the use of state-of-the-art snow clearance machines. Most flight cancellations happen due to poor visibility,” said Mathur.
However, he said, apart from visibility at Srinagar, “external factors such as en-route weather and overhead weather are also responsible for flight cancellations”.
Courtesy Greater Kashmir