As the communications blackout continues in Kashmir amid tensions surrounding the status of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has announced that Jammu Airport will be shut for at least 15 days from October 1 to resurface the runway.

Sources told the Indian newspaper The Tribune that the airport's closure was not related to a previously announced expansion, as the Indian Air Force (IAF) would be doing the resurfacing. The AAI had said in July 2018 that it would expand asphalt runway 18/36 from its current 2,000 metres to 2,440 metres, with a deadline of March 2020. On August 16, 2019, Sushma Chauhan, deputy commissioner for Jammu, requested that the agencies executing the expansion provide structure-free greenfield sites to the AAI to speed up the project.

In relation to the closure, the sources said that the Jammu branch of the AAI was exploring options to move some flights operating to Jammu to Pathankot or the air force base at Udhampur as alternative arrangements to deal with any VIP or emergency visits during the resurfacing period.

However, the authorities have not yet released information on the suspension or rerouting of commercial flights, with airport director Pravat Ranjan Beuria telling The Tribune: “The decision with regard to alternate arrangements is to be taken by the AAI. We are in constant touch with them”.

Six airlines currently operate seven routes to Jammu, the two biggest in terms of frequencies being IndiGo Airlines flying from Srinagar and Delhi Int'l, and SpiceJet also from Srinagar and Delhi Int'l as well as from Gwalior, Mumbai Int'l, and Dehra Dun, according to ch-aviation capacities.

GoAir, Air India, and Vistara also all connect Jammu with both Delhi Int'l and Srinagar, with Air India additionally linking it with Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee. And Alliance Air (India) links Jammu with both Delhi Int'l and Bathinda.