In a first move by a foreign airline, AirAsia became the first airways ever to start its operations from Srinagar international airport in Jammu and Kashmir. The landing for the AirAsia flight had been flagged off by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti at Srinagar airport on Sunday.
Srinagar airport is christened ‘The Sheikh-ul-Alam International Airport’ for the last five years, but no foreign airlines has operated services from there so far. The flight operation by AirAsia is expected to give a fillip to tourism in the valley. To begin with, AirAsia, a Malaysian low-cost airline, will operate one flight daily between Delhi and Srinagar.
Aviation regulator DGCA has said the Brand Licencing Agreement (BLA) of AirAsia India does not violate the “substantial ownership and effective control” norms. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) conclusion comes after a detailed review of the BLA that was directed by the Delhi High Court in November 2016. The report has been submitted to the court.
AirAsia India, a joint venture between the Tatas and Malaysia’s AirAsia Berhad, commenced operations in June 2014. While Tata Sons holds 49 per cent, its two directors — S Ramadorai and R Venkataramanan — have 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent shareholding, respectively, in the airline. The remaining 49 per cent is with AirAsia Investment Ltd.