Soon, you may be able to take a late evening flight to Srinagar as the state government has decided to allow night landing at Srinagar airport. However, the proposal subject to a test-flight on Thursday is yet to be cleared by the aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), according to an IE report. Once the proposal is cleared, airlines will be able to operate flights at the airport until 10 PM. Currently, the last flight that lands in Srinagar airport is at 5:15 PM, while the last outbound flight from the airport takes off at 5:45 PM. The Srinagar airport, which is named Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport belongs to the Indian Air Force. However, the civilian enclave that includes a passenger terminal building and a civil apron is managed by the Airports Authority of India.
DGCA chief B S Bhullar was quoted in the report saying that the Indian Air Force has extended watch hours till 10:00 PM which are now up till 8:00 PM. Also, the required approach lighting has been operationalised by the Airports Authority of India. Bhullar further stated that allowing of night landing at Srinagar airport is being considered, subject to the approval of standard operating procedure and a flight test being undertaken on Thursday.
According to an executive of an airline, at present, if operators wish to fly during the night time, then they would have to take special permission from the authorities in Srinagar at least a week in advance.
Earlier, the Srinagar airport had CAT-I instrument landing system (ILS), due to which flight disruptions occurred during winter fog when visibility dropped below 1,300 m. Therefore, in order to allow civil flight operations at Srinagar airport down to a visibility range of 300 m, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had requested the Ministry of Defence to prioritise installation of the upgraded CAT-II ILS system. Following this, under the Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure plan, the Ministry of Defence has decided to instal the abridged version of the CAT-II airfield lighting system, the report stated.