The government will soon allow night landing at Srinagar airport. The aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is expected to clear the proposal subject to a test-flight on Thursday.
Once cleared, airlines will be able to operate flights until 10 pm. At present, the last flight lands in Srinagar at 5.15 pm. The last outbound flight from Srinagar takes off at 5.45 pm.
The Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport at Srinagar belongs to the Indian Air Force and the Airports Authority of India manages the civilian enclave that includes a passenger terminal building and a civil apron.
“The Indian Air Force has extended watch hours till 10 pm which are now up till 8 pm. Also, Airports Authority of India has operationalised the required approach lighting. (Allowing of night landing at Srinagar) is being considered, subject to approval of standard operating procedure and proving flight being undertaken tomorrow (Thursday),” DGCA chief B S Bhullar told The Indian Express.
An executive of an airline said that, currently, if operators wished to fly during night hours, they would have to seek special permission from the authorities in Srinagar at least a week in advance.
Earlier, the airport was equipped with CAT-I instrument landing system (ILS), due to which flight disruptions occurred during winter fog when visibility dropped below 1,300 m. The Ministry of Civil Aviation had requested the Ministry of Defence to prioritise installation of the upgraded CAT-II ILS system to allow civil flight operations at Srinagar airport down to a visibility range of 300 m.
Following this, the Ministry of Defence decided to instal the abridged version of the CAT-II airfield lighting system under its Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure plan.