The much-awaited ILS CAT II installation work is complete at Srinagar International airport, according to the Airports Authority of India (AAI). The ILS is said to provide pilot descent guidance signals for landing on the runway under normal as well as adverse weather conditions. While ILS CAT II is complete, there is need for removal of old CAT-I equipment and flight calibration of the new equipment, the AAI said.
The installation of category-II (CAT-II), a highly accurate and dependable means of navigating to the runway, would help obviate unnecessary delays due to lesser visibility at the Srinagar airport which actually is not a civilian but a defence airport.
While CAT-III B is considered the most modern ILS technology which is generally used in other Airports in the country, the AAI informed the J&K and Ladakh High court during one of the hearings in the PIL, which was closed in 2022, that IAF has approved CAT-II at the Srinagar Airport.
After the high court’s intervention, a lot was done to upgrade the airport. However there is still absence of some important instruments which would have otherwise helped the authorities to manage the airport in a better manner and prevent troubles that creep up and become more noticeable during winters.
Recently, there were flight delays due to fog. Last year, snowfall and low visibility forced many flight cancellations. The cancellation of flights is most undesirable for airlines and it must be agonizing when the reasons leading to them could be easily obviated. It is hoped that there would be better flight operations as soon as the ILS is made functional. The travelers hope that they don’t have to endure the pain of being away from loved ones due to such cancellations and that they don’t have to be part of chaos or bear the stress of spending hours standing in queues.
In the winter session of the parliament, the government said it was committed to developing Srinagar airport and the current terminal is being expanded so as to provide better facilities to tourists and locals. As per the government terminal at Srinagar was being expanded and expansion plan for Jammu airport will entail an expenditure of Rs 800 crore.
The government is also expected to ensure all facilities are provided to the travelers. The airport needs to be upgraded to levels as some of the best in the country. Hopefully steps are taken in this direction sooner than later. Immediately, authorities are required to make ILS CAT II functional.