To promote tourism, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has decided to operate flights to Swat, Skardu, and Gilgit.
The Saidu Sharif Airport in Swat was deactivated in 2004 for security reasons but will be reopened soon after upgrading by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
PIA spokesman Abdullah Hafeez said that the national airline has decided to operate two weekly flights from Islamabad to Saidu Sharif next month.
He also said that PIA has decided to operate flights from Lahore to Skardu and from Lahore to Gilgit next month.
According to the spokesperson, the CAA management was informed of the PIA’s decision beforehand. As soon as the airport’s restoration work is completed, the national airline will announce the flight schedule.
In this regard, a senior CAA official said that some construction work had been started at Saidu Sharif Airport, which has now been completed.
It may be recalled that out of 44 airports in Pakistan, 27 are fully operational, while six are inactive and 11 are closed.
According to the CAA, inactive airports include Sargodha and Bannu airports.
There is no CAA staff stationed at Sargodha Airport, but it is staffed by PAF Base Mushf, while Bannu Airport was deactivated in 2002 when passenger traffic was meager.
However, there are no immediate plans to reactivate the two airports.
Other inactive airports in the country include Khuzdar, Muzaffarabad, Balakot, Bannu, Parachinar, and Saidu Sharif airports.
The closed airports include Jawani PN, Armara, Sibi, Mangla, Kohat, Bhagatwala, Mianwali, Sehwan Sharif, Mirpokhas, Talhar, and Jacobabad airports.
There are currently 12 international airports operating across the country, including Jinnah International Airport Karachi, Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore, Islamabad International Airport Islamabad, Bacha Khan International Airport Peshawar, Quetta International Airport, Multan International Airport, Faisalabad, Rahim Yar. Khan, Turbat, Gwadar, Old Benazir Bhutto International Airport, and Sialkot International Airport built by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce.
According to the CAA, if there is an increase in people’s movement at the inactive and closed airports in the country, then the said airports can be made operational within 90 days.
At present, 12 of the 44 airports in the country are international, while 15 airports operate for domestic flights.