Srinagar: The Srinagar-Sharjah flight has become a runaway hit despite Pakistan’s refusal to give overflight rights.
Travel industry sources said Srinagar-Sharjah flights are running at their capacity. Currently, the flights are taking a longer route as Pakistan has not allowed the use of its airspace.
On October 23, Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the first direct flight between Srinagar and Sharjah.
An official told The Kashmir Monitor that passengers in large numbers book tickets in advance for the scheduled flights.
“All flights from Srinagar to Sharjah were fully booked. All scheduled flights are also sold out. There is a huge rush of people from Kashmir traveling to UAE ever since the service started,” he said.
The official said low airfare coupled with a hassle-free journey has been the biggest attraction for flyers.
“International tourism has not fully opened yet. However, people from different states, who have been staying in UAE, have found a new opportunity to visit Kashmir. We hope in near future we may receive a good chunk of visitors from UAE and other gulf countries,” he said.
A cursory look at the web portal of Go First on Tuesday showed that two-way airfares per passenger for Srinagar to Sharjah for November range from Rs 35000 to Rs 45000.
The flight service has eased the journey for thousands of Kashmiris working in Gulf countries.
“I have been working in Dubai for the last 10 years and my return journey from Dubai to Srinagar has always been cumbersome. Now, I reached Dubai without multiple layovers,” said Dawood Ahmad from Baramulla.
Director Srinagar International Airport, Kuldeep Singh said the flow of passengers has been satisfactory since the start of the Srinagar-Sharjah flight service.
“The service is getting a good response and we hope that in future the rush of passengers will go up further,” he said.
Farooq Kuthoo, president of the Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) said they plan to promote Kashmir tourism in Gulf. “Right now, domestic tourists only visit Kashmir and we expect tourists from Gulf very soon,” he said.