According to Wikipedia, the online Encyclopedia, “An international airport is an airport that offers customs and immigration facilities for passengers travelling between countries”. It further reads “International airports often also host domestic flights.’’
Does our Sheikh-ul-Aalam International Airport fits the criteria as mentioned by the Wikipedia. I will not go into the technical specification of an Airport which is called as International one but will mention a few basic points which are enough to call Srinagar Airport as a ‘Nominal International Airport’.
Used by the Indian Air Force in the past fully and now partially, the Sheikh ul Alam International Airport is only a name when it comes to catering to International flights. Does the airport offer customs and immigration services for passengers travelling between countries? A definite No. Does the Airport which by its name claims to be an international one sometimes host domestic flights?. Again No. In fact what we occasionally witness is the reverse of the same. ‘’The Domestic One, hosting International Fights, rarely except Hajj Flights. Does the Airport cater to services and amenities which include public restrooms, passenger waiting areas and retail stores for dining and shopping.
Take an example of IGI Airport Delhi which including many offer retail sales of luxury goods at duty-free stores. The International Terminal 3 has been described as having become a significant retail destination in India. Other services include Wi-Fi service and access, offices for (currency exchange) and tourism advice, although the availability of service may vary across airports. Air conditioning during summers and winter seasons. Some international airports provide secure areas for stranded passengers to rest and sleep. The more usual service is hotels that are available on the premises.
The most important and the one which is most related to passengers is the transportation connections in and out of the Airport. Shuttle, taxi services. Do we see a glimpse of any of the few mentioned facilities here at our Airport? Some of them may be available but not to the full satisfaction of travelers. If not then why call it International. Initially one flight a week or so was to take off from the aerodrome but hardly do we remember any of it plying. If it is labeled as an International Airport then when do ‘’International’’ Flights land and take off?. Infact they never do. It should rather be called International ‘’Hajj ‘only Airport as this Airport only caters to Haji’s only when it comes to International Travel. If we peek into the technical and other specifications an International Airport must have then I am sure, the ‘’International ‘tag will no longer be attached to its name as only naming it International is not enough.
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