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Frequent suspension of, delay in flights at Srinagar Airport irks passengers

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Srinagar, Jan 25: Frequent suspension of or delay in flight operations due to the inclement weather at Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport has become a source of constant heart-ache for the locals as well as tourists here.

Irked by frequent suspension of air traffic at Srinagar airport due snowfall or poor visibility during winters, passengers alleged that they cannot make it to their destinations. They rue that even minor snowfall forces airport authorities to halt flight operations for hours together.

“Being a businessman, I often travel from Srinagar to other places including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore but often face inconvenience whenever there is minor rainfall or snow in the valley. Some advancement is needed so that the passengers do not face difficulties,” Tariq Ahmad, who is a frequent flier told ‘Kashmir Images’.

Passengers allege that the airport authorities have not been able to take the edge off their problems so far as suspension or delay in flights due to inclement weather is concerned.

Ahmad said Kashmir is not the only place with such weather conditions in winters. “Much of Europe and North America have far worse winters; however unless there are snowstorms or blizzards, flight operations are not impacted.

“If they could use technology to facilitate hassle-free air travel during winters, why can’t the authorities do the same here?” he asked.

“There are certain other countries in Europe and Asia which also experience heavy snowfall, but flight operations are suspended only in extreme conditions over there. We fail to understand why Srinagar airport encounters such problems on a routine basis,” Kausar Ahmad, a student said.

She said the Airport authorities should take notice of the issues confronting passengers and take concrete steps to resolve the issue once for all.

When contacted Director Airport Authorities of India (AAI) Srinagar International Airport, Kuldeep Singh told ‘Kashmir Images’ that flights cannot take off amid bad weather. He said the runway becomes too slippery when it is covered by snow.

“Flight operation is suspended in Europe as well when it comes to snowfall; flights cannot take off during heavy rain or snowfall. A runway becomes too slippery when it is covered by ice hence operations are suspended for the safety of the passengers,” Singh said, without saying if the kind of technological interventions that are there in developed countries to minimize the impact of weather on flight operations are being mulled for use at Srinagar International Airport.