He asked Civil Aviation Ministry to work out an alternative arrangement

Taking suo motu cognisance of reports that the Srinagar airport would remain closed for a fortnight due to renovation and repairs, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday intervened to ensure uninterrupted air connectivity to Kashmir Valley from other parts of the country.

Dr. Singh asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to work out an alternative arrangement so that flights to Srinagar continued to operate smoothly without any interruption. He felt that the move to complete shut down the Srinagar airport would send a wrong signal to the people in the Valley who were already facing a difficult situation due to general strikes, protests and uncertainty, government sources said.

Meeting called

Putting its act together, Civil Aviation Secretary M. M. Nambiar called a meeting of all agencies and airlines concerned and it was decided that flights to the Kashmir Valley would continue uninterrupted during the period Srinagar airport remained closed for maintenance for 12 days.

Further, it was decided that normal civil flights will operate to Srinagar up to September 2 and from September 3 onwards until resumption of flights from the Srinagar Airport.

Avantipur airport

Airport at the nearby Avantipur would be used to ensure connectivity to the Valley. All necessary arrangements are being made on an urgent basis to ensure flights to the Avantipur airport during the closure of the Srinagar airport for 12 days, Civil Aviation Ministry officials said. Airlines have also agreed to open their booking immediately.

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