September 3, 2010, (Calcutta Tube/AIP) Srinagar: The Srinagar international airport was closed for a fortnight Friday to carry out repairs to the runway, officials said. As an alternate arrangement, all commercial flight operators would now carry out their operations from south Kashmir’s Awantipora Air Base of the Indian Air Force, 25 km from here, until the runway is repaired.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had earlier told the defence ministry that the airport closure would cause inconvenience to air passengers to and from the valley, especially with the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr coming Sep 11.
Indian Air Force authorities, who manage the runaway at Srinagar airport, had said that it was necessary to carry out the runway repair work before the onset of winter and a further fall in the daily temperatures in the region.
All passengers who now want to travel from the Kashmir Valley have been advised to reach the Srinagar airport three hours before the scheduled departure time.
“The security checks of the passengers’ luggage would be carried out at the Srinagar airport itself after which the passengers would be taken to the Awantipora Air Base in security buses with closed doors,” a senior police officer at the airport here told Agence India Press.
“No passenger would be permitted to get off the security bus en route to the air base and no passenger can drive his vehicle to the air base privately. These are security precautions we have to take for the safety of the passengers,” he added.
Also, each private airline has been told to operate only one flight per day to and from Srinagar.
National carrier Air India has decided to operate its flights to and from Srinagar during this period on a selective basis, choosing to operate them mostly around the Eid festival.
by Mir Umar @ Agence India Press