As Pakistan has disallowed flights taking off from Srinagar to Sharjah from flying over its territory, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah called the development as “very unfortunate.”
“Very unfortunate. Pakistan did the same thing with the Air India Express flight from Srinagar to Dubai in 2009-2010. I had hoped that @GoFirstairways being permitted to overfly Pak airspace was indicative of a thaw in relations but alas that wasn’t to be,” former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted.
The government’s announcement to open Srinagar- Sharjah international flight had created a lot of buzz amongst the business leaders of the Valley.
The business leaders expected that the move would not only promulgate Kashmir’s traditional handicrafts businesses but will also help in attracting tourists from the middle east to the Valley.
The announcement to open Srinagar-Sharjah flights was made by the government after deliberations between Lieutenant Governor of J&K Manoj Sinha and Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia in September.
Sinha had said the Union Minister and J&K government agreed to start the first international flight between Srinagar-Sharjah soon. He also added that a direct international connectivity has been a long pending demand of J&K.
Civil aviation minister, Jyotiraditya M. Scindia had also said that special focus was being given on the development of both air and road connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir. Last week, Home Minister Amit Shah had inaugurated Srinagar-Sharjah flight.
For long mainstream political leaders have been asking for opening direct flights from Srinagar to the Middle Eastern countries. As member Parliament PDP President, Mehbooba Mufti had called on the then Union Tourism Minister, Mahesh Sharma in 2015 and sought his intervention in starting international flights from Srinagar Airport. Mehbooba had called for international flights to be operated on Srinagar-Dubai, and Srinagar and Jeddah sectors. As Chief Minister of erstwhile J&K state, Omar Abdullah also had strongly advocated operationalizing international flights by Air India from and to Srinagar Airport.