Jammu, Aug 19 : To facilitate expansion of airport and early start of night landing service with international flights, the flights operation at Jammu Airport is likely to be suspended for two weeks from October 1.
Currently, the Jammu Airport does not have night landing service due to the lack of proper infrastructure, including the required length of the runway. Deputy Commissioner Sushma Chauhan on August 16, in a meeting here, also told the executing agencies to provide a tree-free and structure-free land to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at the earliest so that the expansion work of the local airport could be undertaken smoothly within the given time frame.
'The expansion work of the airport is in full swing while the runway is also being expanded,' a senior official of the Airport Authority of India said. To make the ongoing exercise smoother and accomplish the task, the flights operation may remain suspended for two weeks in October. 'During the closure of the airport, neither any flight will take off nor will land,' they added.
They said that all flights to Srinagar either domestic or international will operate accordingly as per their schedule.
'Including Air India, flights of around 25 aviation companies, operate daily from Jammu,' they said, adding that suspending operation of all flights for 15 days will no doubt cause loss to exchequer worth crores but there is no alternative than doing so because expansion of the airport and the runway are the mandatory requisites at the moment keeping in view the flow of rush and increased number of flights.
In Jammu besides Indian Airlines, Go Air, Spicejet, Vistara, Indigo, Go India and many other flights are operational. 'The process of cutting of trees inside the airport, expansion and repair work at the land owned by the AAI is in progress,' they said, adding 'The land was transferred to the AAI in August 2018 and its expansion vis-à-vis runway is a must keeping in view the security of the airport.'
'Expansion of airport is on and the flight operations will remain suspended from October 1 to 15,' Dr Pravat Ranjan, Station Director, Jammu Airport, AAI said. He, however, said presently the operational runway is 6,700 feet long and it is further being extended to 8,000 feet (1300 feet expansion) for night landing, adding, “day to day deliberations are also going on between the divisional administration, Indian Air Force authorities and the Airport Authorities regarding the expansion.'
Meanwhile, official sources said the process for expanding the existing runway from 6,700ft to 8,000ft on 18 side to facilitate the operations of aircraft with load penalty, will begin in days at an estimated cost of Rs 75 crore.
Airport Authority of India has expanded modified and upgraded the terminal building of Jammu Airport with enhanced passenger amenities, including doubling the area and per hour passenger handling capacity. Earlier, The area of building was increased from 6,750 sqm to 14,500 sqm with increased numbers of escalators and lifts while three aerobridges with additional taxing track were also commissioned. Jammu Airport had 1.6 million passengers in FY17 and now the airport handles 50 aircraft movements. (UNI)