Jammu: The flights operation may be suspended from March 5 at Jammu Airport as the Indian Air Force has written to the authorities of Jammu Airport as well as the airlines operators for the closure of the runway for the period of 15 days.
In its communication to Airport Authorities and Airlines, Senior Air Traffic Controller has written that the complete closure of runway at Jammu for 15 days towards laying of final two top DAC-II layers on runway surface has been approved by Air HQ from March 6 to March 20 and the same has been intimated to ED (Operations) Airport Authority of India, New Delhi.
The letter titled, “Complete closure of runway for overlay of DAC-II layer: Mar 5 to 20” has also been sent to the airline operators which are having their flights operating from and to Jammu airport.
The Airport Director has been directed as per the official letter by the Under Secretary to the Government, Civil Aviation Department to accordingly take up the matter with the Air Force authorities.
Acting on this communication from Senior Air Traffic Controller, a majority of the airlines have already stopped booking the tickets for the said dates. On the daily basis, Jammu airport has more than 20 operational flights with over 3000 travellers.
Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir BVR Subrahmanyam has written to Secretary, Civil Aviation, Ministry of Civil Aviation against the decision and asked them to carry out resurfacing in such a manner that civilian air traffic is not affected during the day time.
In his letter, J&K Chief Secretary has also said that closure of operations will create huge administrative issues for the Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
Acting on the communication from J&K Government, the Ministry of Civil Aviation also wrote to the Ministry of Defence for intervention.
Earlier it was planned in the month of October 2019 but was postponed as Airport authorities objected to the move and Airport Director Dr P.R. Beuria wrote to the Airport Authority of India.
In September 2019, it was decided that the flight operations would not be suspended for two weeks as announced to facilitate its expansion and early start of night landing service with international flights.
The operational runway presently is 6,700 feet long and it is further being extended to 8,000 feet (1300 feet expansion) for night landing.
Meanwhile, official sources said the process for expanding the existing runway from 6,700 feet to 8,000 feet on 18 sides to facilitate operations of aircraft with load penalty, will be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 80 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 the building was increased earlier 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.