Govt to upgrade Skardu airport for handling international flights

KARACHI: Federal government has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to upgrade the Skardu airport in Gilgit-Baltistan for handling international flights with an aim to promote tourism in the country.

The government called for the airport to be readied for international flight operations by June-July this year. After government directions, CAA also issued orders to concerned officials for the expansion of the airport, besides laying out preparations for all-weather flight operations.

According to the plan, the airport’s runway will be equipped with the modern CAT-I system to facilitate local/international flights in adverse weather conditions. The Skardu airport’s main runway is 12,000-feet long, while the second runway is 8,500-feet long.

It may be recalled that officials from the aviation regulator had earlier conducted a survey to determine whether international flights can land at the airport. As a test flight, a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Airbus-320 performed a safe landing at the airport.

The Skardu airport is listed among the world’s highest altitude airports at an altitude of over 7,000 feet. Earlier this week, PIA had announced that it would operate weekly flights from Lahore to Skardu and Gilgit from next month.

PIA Spokesman Abdullah Hafeez had announced, at first, PIA will start two flights a week from Lahore to Gilgit and Skardu. More flights can be added keeping the number of passengers in view.