Hopeful GOI would allow direct Srinagar-Kuala Lumpur flights: Malaysian envoy

Dato’ Hidayat Abdul Hamid meets KCCI, TAAK, ATOK, NTTA delegations

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 20 2018 1:10AM | Updated Date: Nov 20 2018 1:10AM
Hopeful GOI would allow direct Srinagar-Kuala Lumpur flights: Malaysian envoyFile Photo

Stating that several Malaysian airlines are interested in operating flights between Srinagar and Kuala Lumpur, high commissioner of Malaysia to India, Dato’Hidayat Abdul Hamid on Monday said for direct connectivity between the two regions, necessary permission lies with the Government of India. 

Hamid’s remarks come days after Malaysian airline AirAsia wrote a letter to J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik showing interest for operating a direct flight to Srinagar.

Speaking to Greater Kashmir on the last day of his visit to the Valley, Hamid said Malaysian government is taking all possible steps to connect Kashmir with the South-east Asia nation so that tourism gets a boost here.

“Many airlines have shown their willingness to start direct flights to Srinagar from Kuala Lumpur. We are really hopeful that Government of India clears the decks,” Hamid said. “There are 225 flights operating between Malaysia and India at present. The two countries have an aviation agreement which needs a renewal and slots for direct flight to Srinagar needs to be awarded to us,” Hamid said.

After 2005, when it was accorded ‘international airport’ status, the only international flights that operate from Srinagar airport are Hajj flights. Tourism players here have been demanding for direct international flights from Srinagar to South East Asian countries and Middle East for a long time. Malaysia accounts for second highest foreign tourist arrivals to Kashmir after Thailand.

“Large number of Kashmiri's studying and working in Malaysia will also get benefited by the direct flight,” the high commissioner said.

Hamid said at present the direct flights between Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to tourist destinations such as Jaipur and Amritsar are quite productive for Indian tourism.

The high commissioner said he was happy to see a large number of Malaysian tourists during his visit to Gulmarg, Pahalgam and various parts of Srinagar adding that better air connectivity will provide a boost to tourist influx to the Valley. More than 15000 tourists from Malaysia have visited the Valley this year so far. 

Hamid who also met delegations from Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir, Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir, Nigeen Tourist Trade Association on Monday said Kashmir offers a great potential for Malaysia-based companies to get involved in infrastructure development in the Valley. 

However, the envoy said there is need for Jammu and Kashmir and Union government to “open up” for investment opportunities and win confidence of these companies. 

Deputy directors of tourism department Reyaz Ahmad Shah and Mohammad Sarfaraz also interacted with the High Commissioner in Srinagar.

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