Kashmir tourism suffering due to Defence control of Srinagar Airport: TAAK

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Srinagar: In response to Army’s latest statement that IAF is controlling the airports in Leh, Jodhpur, Assam, Chandigrah, and even Pune, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) strongly believes that these areas are not popular tourism destinations like Kashmir. Hence it barely matters if these airports are controlled by IAF or the Airport Authority of India. As far as Srinagar is concerned, it is a sought after tourism destination across globe.

President TAAK, Manzoor Sidiq said that in one way the Army is advocating for peace in valley and on the other hand they are of the view that they can’t take the huge risk of vacating the strategically important airport right now. We out rightly reject this claim and call upon the State Government not to let the IAF control it at the cost of Tourism.

“We don’t get a very positive feedback especially from the foreign arrivals to Kashmir courtesy heavy security at the airport. The guests arriving in Kashmir have to face the ordeal and torment especially during check in process, which will ease automatically if the airport is converted into a civilian airport,” he said.

As per DGCA current governing rules the operation timings for Srinagar airport stand from 5 .00 AM to 10.00 PM with minuscule changes during winters. However only a fewer flights have so far operated in the evening hours and the last flights which has ever operated was at around 8.00 PM from here, Sidiq added.

“Further it’s is pertinent to mention that IAF, after installation of ILS few years ago, was on record to acknowledge through the press release that SRINAGAR Airport was fully equipped to handle the civilian aircraft traffic in near about 0 visibility,” he said questioning that however, why we had all flight cancellations for consecutive 3 days this week and why they didn’t operate, perhaps it was out of sweet will of Air force ATC or may be due to the vested interest in some circles which of course need to be exposed.

He said if the Air force already has a full-fledged base at Koel with two parallel runways, why do they want to control the Srinagar airport runway as well. The Koel airport is also strategically located and the aerial distance between the two airports doesn’t exceed 30Km.