Air travellers to Kashmir are having a harrowing time with suspension of all flights to and from Srinagar for three days from Tuesday in view of the renewed street protests.
Kashmir had last witnessed suspension of air traffic during the Kargil war in 1999.
It’s already been tough for travellers since September 3, when the Srinagar air strip was closed for renovation and flights had to be boarded from an IAF base in Awantipora, 35 km away.
Besides the distance, difficulties were compounded because the base has no infrastructure to handle civilian traffic. Passengers would first have to go to Srinagar airport to check-in. They would then board buses to travel to the air base to board their flights.
With a sharp drop in the number of passengers willing to fly in and out of Srinagar and Awantipora, several airlines had cancelled their flights.
So, from 14 flights ferrying about 2,000 passengers every day since September 3, the numbers had dropped to about 500 and four flights.
Director of Srinagar International Airport V.K. Gupta, however, said renovation is nearly complete and the airport would be open to traffic from Friday.