Suspension of flights adds to passengers' woes in Kashmir

All flights to and fro Kashmir Valley were suspended for three days from today following largescale complaints that airlines were cancelling flights randomly without intimating the passengers.

Many passengers after undertaking the tedious process of reaching the Awantipora Air base since the airport was shifted there in early September were shocked to know that their flight had been cancelled.

The civilian flights were diverted to the Airforce base at Awantipora after the only civilian airport of the Valley was closed for resurfacing on September three.
Initially, the private airlines refused to fly to Awantipora but some of them relented after the intervention of the Centre.

The airlines claimed that the flights were getting cancelled due to deteriorating law and order situation in the Valley, especially en route to Awantipora.

However, sources said the state government was miffed at the arbitrary cancellations and lack of adequate frequency of flights by state-run Air India, which prompted it to withdraw its request to the Defence Ministry for use of the airforce base.
Air India has operated only three flights to and fro Srinagar since September three, flying into the Valley on sixth, ninth and 12th of this month. The airline was operation two daily flights to summer capital of the state.

Residents of Kashmir are also facing difficulty in undertaking road journeys out of the valley in view of the law and order problems in many place along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

Although so far no incident of targeting of passenger vehicle has been reported during the unrest, the travellers generally start in the dead of the night to cross the trouble zones on this side of the Pir Panjal mountain range.
The resurfacing of the Srinagar's civilian airport are expected to be completed by tomorrow and the flights will resume a day later.

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