Flight operation resumes to Swat after 17 years

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Tourism information desk set up at Saidu Sharif Airport


TARIQ SAEED
PESHAWAR

In what could be termed a significant development the Pakistan International Airlines after a long interval of almost seventeen years resumed its flights to scenic valley of Swat that experienced worst kind of militancy in the yester years.

A PIA flight, PK-640, with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar and Communications Minister Murad Saeed and tourists on board, reached the scenic valley at around 11am on Friday.

The flight took off from the Islamabad International Airport where a cake was cut to celebrate the resumption of the flight operations to the Saidu Sharif airport.

The Saidu Sharif airport had been non-operational since 2004 after the national flag carrier ceased to operate commercial flights to this destination.

The national flag carrier plans to operate two flights from Lahore and Islamabad in a week.

Established in 1978, the airport used to handle two flights a day from Islamabad and Peshawar.

Speaking to the media after arrival at the Saidu Sharif airport, the aviation minister said flights to Swat resumed after a gap of 17 years adding PIA’s Swat flight operation was need of the hour.

“The flights will not only add to the national airline’s revenue but would also lead to the further promotion of tourism industry in the scenic valley of Swat in the days to come.

The flight operation to Swat has reportedly been resumed due to the personal efforts of KP CM Mahmood Khan and federal minister Murad Saeed.

The PIA management said the national carrier will send two flights to the airport every week from Islamabad adding passengers wanting to travel from Karachi and Lahore will be connected with flights from Islamabad.

Separately, the PTI Twitter account said that in the next phase, international flights will also be allowed to land at the airport.