Srinagar: For the second consecutive day all flights to and from Srinagar International Airport stand cancelled. Authorities cite fog at the airport runway as the cause.
No flight landed at the airport yesterday either. A report from Delhi said flights either did not take off for Srinagar or were diverted to Jammu and Chandigarh.
The cancellations have created a chaotic situation at Srinagar airport as stranded passengers from yesterday's cancelled flights and those flying today vied for attention of the airline staff.
Six airlines– Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Indigo, Air India, Vistara and GoAir currently operate 13 daily flights from here, a sharp dip from 36 flights a day before the unrest started in Kashmir on July 9 this year, an airport official told Kashmir Observer.
It bears mention that large number of Kashmiris travel outside ahead of winter.
Many passengers with onward bookings were seen frantically pleading with helpless airline staff for support.
Maqsooda, with her onward flight to Saudi Arabia in the night was virtually in tears. "This ticket had cost me a fortune", now I don't think I will be able to make it to be with my son there", she said.
Nasreen Fatima, had her classes starting at a college in Bangalore after Diwali holidays on Friday.
The situation was aggravated as Information display boards inside and outside remained dysfunctional.
Airport presented the look of a crowded railway station, said Aijaz Ahmad, a passenger travelling to Mumbai.
Outside, India's most high security airport, passengers in long ques were seen desperately trying to finish the security checks in order to get inside the terminal building on time.
Security men allow only passengers from outer gate, some 1.5 kilometers from the terminal. A mother accompanying her daughter in a cab was seen arguing with a security officer as she wanted to see her daughter off at the airport.
Officer didn't relent forcing the woman to get off the cab.
At other end some motorists were exchanging heated words with another guard who would only allow VIP vehicles to pass through the empty special corridor while directing others to stand in serpentine line.
Srinagar airport, as widely reported, is devoid of several basic facilities, mocking at the status of the lone commercial airport in Srinagar.
As per regulations, while aircraft will be able to land in visibility of 50 metres, no plane will take off until visibility is 125 metres.
There is no CAT IIIB instrument landing system at Srinagar airport, which enables landing of aircraft in 50 metre visibility.
The Srinagar airport, which is under the control of Airport Authority of India (AAI) and IAF, occupies a small corner of the massive IAF airbase. The airport land has actually been leased out to the AAI by the IAF and houses the terminal building where passengers check-in and depart. The AAI also controls the apron area (where an aircraft is parked) while the airspace and runway control is with the IAF.