Air India to launch direct Dubai-Srinagar flight soon

DUBAI — Air India announced on Sunday a new Dubai-Srinagar flight, which will help Indian expatriates from Kashmir to fly home directly.

By Riyasbabu

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Published: Tue 5 Aug 2008, 2:05 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 5:00 PM

The service will start after the completion of the repair work at the Srinagar airport which is expected to finish in a month.

Dubai will be the first overseas destination connecting Indian-administered Kashmir with a direct commercial flight.

F. D. Warden, Executive Director, Middle East and North Africa for National Aviation Company, the merged entity of Air India and Indian Airlines, told Khaleej Times, "We are exploring all possibilities to start the service. But we have not set any deadlines for starting the service."

Meanwhile, the Indian media reported that after missing two deadlines, the Srinagar International Airport is expected to be operational in less than a month.

The reports quoted Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel as saying, "The work on the airport will be completed within a month. Direct flights to the Gulf will be introduced in the beginning."

Patel said Jammu and Kashmir has seen the biggest increase in air traffic growth in percentage points over the past three to four years.

Kashmiri expatriates in the UAE welcomed the move and said a direct flight from Dubai to Srinagar would save them time and money.

Mohammed Asrar, who has been living in Dubai for the past seven years, said each time he returns to his hometown near Srinagar, he is forced to take a flight to New Delhi and go to the domestic terminal and take another flight to Srinagar.

"Connecting flights are expensive and time consuming," said Asrar, a sales manager with Pride of Kashmir.

Shamia Khan, a HR executive of Concept group, said, "A direct flight to Srinagar would be a great relief. It is always a nightmare to travel via New Delhi as it takes ages to reach home."

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