SRINAGAR: Union Minister of State (MoS) for Civil Aviation, Jayant Sinha on Thursday said Srinagar airport would get night landing facility soon and international connectivity from next tourist season.
“The Srinagar airport would get night landing facilities in about two months,” Sinha said while addressing the ‘Ideas Summit’ organized by the Foundation for Resource Development and Education (FRDE) at SKICC here.
The "Ideas summit" was attended by hundreds of entrepreneurs and established businesses in the hospitality sector of Valley.
The night landing facility at the Srinagar airport would come as a great relief for the people, especially the tourism stakeholders as installation of night landing facility at Srinagar airport was their long pending demand.
After pressure from traders, tourism stakeholders and civil society in the Valley, the State government had taken up issue of night flights at Srinagar airport with the Union Defence Ministry to get nod for operation of night flights.
The State government had also sought installation of guiding lights at the runway of Srinagar airport to facilitate flight operations at the Srinagar airport during poor visibility conditions to ensure hassle-free flight operations during winter months.
The Srinagar airport is under the control of Indian Air Force (IAF).
Sinha also announced that Srinagar airport would have international connectivity.
“Kashmir would get direct flights to Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur at the start of the next tourism season,” the union minister said.
He said central government was also exploring the possibility of having a direct flight to Srinagar from Dubai, UAE.
The Srinagar Airport was declared as international airport on February 11, 2005.
Sinha said the central government would also set up a flight training school in Kashmir.
He said besides providing training to the aspiring pilots and cabin crew, the government would keep a flight training simulator at the school.
The union minister said there were opportunities for Kashmiri youth as cabin crew and the school could polish their skills.
On surge in airfare to Srinagar especially during the peak tourist season, Sinha said, “We investigated the surge in pricing and found out that only one or two per cent of fares increase whether inSrinagar or elsewhere in the country".
The tourism stakeholders have been alleging that the airfare to Srinagar increases manifold during the peak tourism season, prompting the tourists to travel abroad rather than visiting Kashmir.
In response to a question on his father and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha's statements on Kashmir, the Union minister said he was on the same page as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh regarding the talks with Hurriyat.
He also termed his father, former finance and external affairs minister, Yashwant Sinha’s suggestion to New Delhi of having dialogue with Hurriyat as his personal opinion.