Though the state has extended timings of the Jammu Airport till 9 pm, the authorities face a bigger challenge to bring flights for night operations in the winter capital.
The state has decided to extend the timings of evening flights in Jammu till 9 pm and Srinagar till 8 pm from January 1 but the runway expansion of the Jammu Airport is still pending and is expected to be completed by March 2020.
The flights landing at the Jammu Airport cannot fly with full load as it has only 6,700-foot-long runway, which forces the aircraft to use emergency brakes at the time of landing in the winter capital of the state.
The Airport Authority of India, Jammu, has started the expansion of runway up to 8,000 feet and the deadline for the completion is March 2020.
Sources said the airlines withdrew four flights from the airport in the last six months because they were facing losses on the Jammu route.
Now, bringing new flights for the airport will be a challenging job for the airport authority as the expansion of the runway is expected to take more than 15 months from now. According to Principal Secretary, Civil Aviation, Rohit Kansal, the Air Force authorities have been asked to extend watch hours from 8 am to 9 pm at the Jammu Airport and 8 am to 8 pm at the Srinagar Airport to facilitate operation of flights during late hours but the authorities are still waiting for a formal order in this regard. “The timings will be extended from January 1 but we are still waiting for a formal order. It will be a great boon for Jammu to get night flights,” said DK Gautam, director, Jammu Airport.