JK seeks CAT facility at Srinagar airport

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Srinagar, Nov 29: The Jammu and Kashmir government will soon approach the Union Civil Aviation Ministry for installation of CAT-1 lighting facility at the Srinagar Airport to allow landing of flights in poor visibility conditions.

This was stated at a high-level meeting chaired by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, here last evening, to review the situation arising out of the cancellation of Haj and other flights from Srinagar.

In view of weather conditions leading to cancellation of Haj and other flights from here, Director Airport Authority, Srinagar, Rakesh Kalra suggested the Jammu and Kashmir government to approach the Civil Aviation Ministry in this regard.

He said the Civil Aviation Ministry could be requested to install CAT-1 approach lighting facility at the Srinagar Airport to allow landing of aircraft in poor visibility conditions.

The Chief Minister was informed that the Director General Civil Aviation had changed the criterion for landing at the Srinagar Airport from 1.5 km visibility to 2.2 km.

He was told that the change was made at the behest of foreign pilots who were not ready to land at below 2.2 km visibility. In contrast, the Indian pilots operated at 1.5-km visibility, which was the case last year also.

Mr Azad was told that if the landing criterion was reverted back, the problem of flight cancellation might not arise.

The Chief Minister assured that he would take up the matter with the authorities concerned in New Delhi.

He also asked the State Haj Committee to keep an exigency plan ready for flying the Haj pilgrims from Jammu in case the weather continued to play the spoilsport.

Mr Azad said the pilgrims could not afford to remain stranded for long as they had to arrive in Jeddah on time. Performing the Haj was more important than flying from a particular point, he added.

The cancelled flights, it was told in the meeting, could be rescheduled only after allowed by Saudi Arabia and it also depended on the availability of air corridor at Jeddah where the skies remain crowded with aircraft carrying pilgrims from all over the world.


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