Srinagar: Kashmir airport will be closed
for air traffic from September one for at least 15 days for
repair work on the runways as Jammu and Kashmir government has
set afoot steps to defer it or make the airline operators
agree to use another airport in South Kashmir.
The state Government will be approaching Civil Aviation
and Defence Ministries reasoning that complete closure of the
airport would create a chaos-like situation in the Valley
keeping in view the coming Eid Festival on September 12 or 13.
Many people, working outside the Valley, will be coming
to their homes during the festival and the closure of airport
would only result in their unwanted harassment, senior state
The Government had earlier agreed to carry out necessary
repairs on the runways of the Srinagar airport, manned by the
Indian Air Force, on the condition that the civilian traffic
would migrate to Awantipura airport in South Kashmir, 35 kms
However, all air operators including Indian Airlines,
Jet Airways, Kingfisher and other low-cost carriers have
expressed their inability to operate from Awantipora because
of non-availability of infrastructure.
The airport, which is located in Budgam district of
Kashmir, handles 12 to 14 flights with nearly 3000 inward and
The government wanted the IAF to work otherwise on a
proposal of the Civil Aviation Ministry who have submitted a
plan whereby resurfacing work as well as airport operations
can go on simultaneously, the sources said.
The Defence Ministry has communicated to the state
government that the airport would be shut down for civilian
traffic from September one onwards for nearly 15 days to
enable carrying out resurfacing of the runway.
Defence Ministry was planning to go ahead with
resurfacing of runway in June but had to defer its proposal
due to pressure from the state government.
During upgradation of the airport in mid-2000, the
civilian traffic was diverted to Awantipora air field in South