Wadia group-run airline Go First on Saturday commenced its direct passenger services to Sharjah in the UAE from Srinagar, becoming the first domestic carrier to provide direct international connectivity from the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir.
Operated by an Airbus A320neo, the airline’s maiden flight G8 1595 departed from Srinagar’s Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport around 6.30 pm on Saturday, a release said.
Go First will operate four flights every week between Srinagar and Sharjah.
The introduction of the direct flight on the new route, which will be operated four times a week, will boost trade and tourism between Srinagar and the UAE, besides meeting the demand for convenient travel options for the two cities, which are popular tourist destinations as well, Go First said.
The new services will also support growing trade and investment links with both Srinagar and Sharjah, it added. The direct flights from Sharjah will offer seamless connections to Srinagar and beyond to Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu, Leh, and Mumbai, and vice-versa, the airline said.
“Having been in operations here for over 15 years, the airline shares a special relationship with the region and is committed to its growth. We are delighted to be the first airline to connect Jammu & Kashmir with the UAE and it bears testimony to our commitment to the region,” said Kaushik Khona, Chief Executive Officer, Go First.
The airline said it has taken initiatives for the development of air travel and cargo movement from Srinagar, Jammu, and Leh, adding that it is the only airline appointed for the cargo movement of horticultural perishable and agricultural produce of J&K Horticulture Products – the state-owned company.
The airline used Pakistani air space, inviting a tweet from former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah. “Good to see the refusal of airspace usage is a thing of the past. Perhaps there is hope for relations between the two countries,” he wrote.