Srinagar: The Srinagar International Airport is ready to start operation of night flights, an Airport Authority of India (AII) official said here on Friday.

RK Shinde, director, AAI said at a media conference here that the Srinagar airport is now ready to start night operations and it was now for the various airlines to apply for permission to the director general of civil aviation for obtaining the necessary clearance.

He said Srinagar International Airport has been rated as the second best airport the world over in terms of customer satisfaction ratings.

“Basically, we are ready, the infrastructure is ready. Since this airport is a civil enclave, it was supposed to be cleared by Indian Air Force,” he said, adding it has already cleared it for night operations up to 10 p.m.

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“Now, it is for those airlines, which are interested to commence the operations, to take a call. The only thing that they have to obtain is a clearance from the DGCA. Once the clearance from the DGCA is there night operations from this airport will be started.

“A team of DGCA is expected to visit the airport this month to take stock of facilities for starting the night operations,” said Shinde.

On security, he said that more measures have been taken to strengthen the security at the airport, particularly after the Pathankot attack.

“This is a hypersensitive airport and that is why since the beginning, we have Jammu and Kashmir Police for anti-hijacking purpose and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

“After the Pathankot incident, we have taken a number of steps to further strengthen the security like multiple checking of the passengers as well as luggage, secondary ladder-point checking… we have deployed additional Quick Response Teams which move to and fro and keep the vigil in the airport area,” Shinde said.

He said the manpower of security forces has also been strengthened at different positions at the airport.

The director said that considering the continuous growth of the airport, AAI has planned its expansion for which works are already in the pipeline.

“The expansion has been considered to handle the traffic to the tune of 5.72 million passengers per annum by the end of 2023 – an increase from 2.04 million passengers per annum right now. The building size, right now, is around 19,700 square metres. We are going to add an additional capacity of 33,000 square metre and this expansion will be on the left side of the existing terminal because we are already in a constraint.

“We will then have two additional aircraft stands, so that total stands will become 11. Also we will be having a common user domestic terminal to handle the domestic cargo in better manner,’ he said.

Shinde also said that they will soon have free wi-fi at this airport in coordination with BSNL.

“The equipment installation is over and maybe within a week’s time we will commission free wi-fi system,” he said.

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