Kargil Airport

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Kargil Airport
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerAirport Authority of India, Administration of Ladakh
OperatorIndian Air Force
LocationKargil, Ladakh, India
Elevation AMSL2,927 m / 9,604 ft
Coordinates34°31′22″N 076°09′18″E / 34.52278°N 76.15500°E / 34.52278; 76.15500Coordinates: 34°31′22″N 076°09′18″E / 34.52278°N 76.15500°E / 34.52278; 76.15500
Kargil Airport is located in Ladakh
Kargil Airport
Kargil Airport
Location of the airport in Ladakh
Kargil Airport is located in India
Kargil Airport
Kargil Airport
Kargil Airport (India)
Direction Length Surface
m ft
02/20 1,830 6,004 Asphalt

Kargil Airport (ICAO: VI65) is a military airfield in Kargil district 6 km (3.7 mi) away from Kargil and 217 km (135 mi) from Leh. It is one of two airports in the union territory of Ladakh. The airport will be expanded for operation of commercial jets by the end of 2019.[1][needs update] (Dzongkha and Ladakhi)


The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi being received by local leader, on his arrival at Kargil Airport, in Jammu & Kashmir on August 12, 2014

The airport was built by the State Government of Jammu and Kashmir in 1996 for civilian operations.[2] and was leased to the Airports Authority of India (AAI).[3] Kargil rose to prominence in the late 1990s as the site of an undeclared war between India and Pakistan.[4] AAI transferred the operational control and maintenance to Indian Air Force (IAF) because the airport was vulnerable to shelling by Pakistani forces.[5]

The civil enclave at the airfield is managed by the state government. The terminal building has the capacity to handle 100 peak hour passengers at a time. It was built by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) at a cost of 350 million Rupees, initially for civilian use but was transferred to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in 2003 after it was damaged in the Kargil War in 1999.[6]

The Air Force operates its An-32 aircraft from for an air courier service that transports civilians from Kargil to Srinagar and Jammu during the harsh winter season.[7]

The airport is a much debated issue for local politicians as well as the public who pursue the point that the airport should be opened to commercial civilian services.[8][9] Air Mantra became the first commercial company to land a civilian aircraft at the airport when it landed a 17-seater aircraft with dignitaries, including then Chief Minister of the state Omar Abdullah, on board in January, 2012.[10] However, the service could not be sustained.[11]

The Jammu and Kashmir government sanctioned ₹ billion to upgrade the airport to handle commercial flights. A pre-feasibility study was conducted by the AAI in June 2019. The report recommended extending the existing 6,000-foot (1,800 m) runway by another 5,000 ft (1,500 m) in order to make it suitable for commercial jets.[12]


  1. ^ "Civilian flights to Kargil by year-end: Jammu & Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik". The Times of India. 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Kargil to be a major Indian Air Force base". Zee News. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  3. ^ "Kargil Airport To Be Expanded". Press Information Bureau. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Regulator asks SpiceJet to start flights to Kargil". Live Mint. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Ministry of defence to run Kargil airport". Dawn. 29 December 2002. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  6. ^ A Full-Fledged Air Base In Kargil And Its Implication For India – Analysis
  7. ^ "J&K starts air courier service for Kargil". The Economic Times. 20 December 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  8. ^ MATTERS UNDER RULE-377: Regarding Need For Early Commissioning Of ... on 22 November, 2000
  9. ^ Operate air service to Kargil Akhoon to CA Minister Lastupdate:- Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:30:00 GMT GreaterKashmir.com
  10. ^ "Civilian flight takes off from Kargil airport". The Hindu Business Line. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Flights to Kargil, Kasauli soon". Condé Nast Traveller. 29 January 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Kargil airport to operate commercial flights". The Times of India. Retrieved 13 April 2020.