NEW DELHI: Travellers flying out of Srinagar, Jammu and Leh airports can now carry a cabin bag with them like they do at other Indian airports. The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has amended an old rule that prevented flyers from doing so for over two decades, Times of India reported.
BCAS chief Kumar Rajesh Chandra recently passed an order that brings the three airports in J&K at par with other Indian airports in terms of allowing cabin bags on flights out of there. “There was no ban as such on hand bags out of the three airports. The current requirement for hand bag is that their length plus height plus width should not exceed 115 cm. In the early 1990s, this limit was 100 cm due to aircraft interiors that time,” Chandra, a senior IPS officer told TOI.
J&K airports still had that 100-cm limit on cabin bags and that was used as the reason for disallowing handbags for departing passengers. “Now the (sum of dimensions) limit in J&K is also 115 cm and hand bags of those dimensions are allowed on departing flights there too,” Chandra said.
Airlines confirmed this change. An Air India official said the airline has “very recently (started allowing) one hand baggage” on flights out of the three airports. A Vista spokesman said it has started allowing “passengers to carry cabin bags from Srinagar, Jammu and Leh, from September 9, 2018.”
The issue arose recently when Chandra was heading to J&K with a team of officials for a day-long visit. He and the team members were carrying only a hand bag each with them. When pointed out that the same will need to be checked in on the way back to Delhi, Chandra is learnt to have asked for the rule that bans cabin bags for departing passengers from J&K.
“There was no rule as such. The old 100-cm-rule was the reason why hand bags was not allowed in Srinagar, Jammu and Leh. He immediately issued the new order raising the maximum allowed length plus height plus width of cabin bags to 115 cm, the same as at other airports,” said a source.
This ban on handbags has long troubled passengers, especially those going for a short trip to J&K or from there to other cities. Baggage checked-in at J&K has to be identified before boarding aircraft from airports there. So now people travelling light can skip this hassle in the three airports.
The change comes weeks before the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) takes over security of airports in J&K. The Union aviation and home ministries wanted flyers to and from J&K to have the same experience inside the terminals here like at other Indian airports. The biggest differentiator has just been removed.
The maximum weight of hand bag allowed in economy of domestic flights on most airlines is 7 kg. In addition to one hand baggage, some items like — ladies’ purse, camera and laptop — are also permitted to be carried on board by each flyer.