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Gilgit-Baltistan is Pakistan’s remotest area, and the highest elevation where people have built homes for themselves. It is an area that is particularly known for its breathtaking landscapes, fresh air, clear water lakes, pristine mountains, and an abundance of natural beauty, the likes of which can not be found anywhere else in the world. As infrastructure projects are initiated throughout the country, especially under CPEC, the number of tourists visiting these pristine landscapes has increased exponentially. This has prompted the authorities to provide even greater access to the tourists, by harnessing the airspace. Now instead of travelling for long hours through tumultuous paths, the range of airports in Gilgit and Baltistan are offering easy air routes as an answer for your travelling needs.
Let’s explore these airports and the new tourist initiatives being launched, in great detail.
Airports In Gilgit-Baltistan
The air traffic to Gilgit-Baltistan, especially Skardu and Gilgit city have increased exponentially since late April, this year. This is because the country’s national carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has introduced a schedule of regular flights to this area, which are being used by all holiday planners and tourists on a regular basis.
Airport In Gilgit
Serving as a hub for trekking and mountaineering, Gilgit city’s airport is a vision surrounded by the mighty Karakoram Mountains. Due to heavier air pressure, the airplanes used here are smaller and have to follow a specific time schedule.
Despite these limitations, in recent weeks Gilgit Airport has emerged as one of the busiest in the country. This has occurred because of the direct flights arranged by the PIA from Islamabad to Gilgit. This is an incredible feat for the national carrier, and while talking to media, the PIA’s spokesperson said that they are committed to making all out efforts to provide convenient travel services to the people of the region and to promote domestic tourism in Pakistan.
The construction work for the new terminal and relocation of car parking for the Gilgit Airport was completed on 30th July, 2012, however, Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef inaugurated this on 6th December, 2013. Originally, the airport was completed in 1958.
This airport is much smaller than Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore or Fatimah Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.
The Departure Lounge has a capacity of over 100 people, whereas Ladies Lounge and CIP Lounge each host over 30 and 40 people, respectively.
Airport In Skardu
In light of the tourism season, the PIA has initiated direct flights from Karachi and Lahore to Skardu, twice a week.
The airport has been bustling with tourists ready to explore this city that offers an eclectic lifestyle, picturesque valleys, and fresh produce such as cherries. Located at an elevation of 7,316 feet, Skardu Airport is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the dark-grey runway sits like an extension of the great Karakoram Mountain range. There are spacious facilities of Passengers’ Lounge available, while reforms to expand the project are also underway.
Skardu attracts a large number of domestic and international tourists each year, and this airport will further facilitate tourism in the region.
In a press release, GB Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon has said that efforts are being made to make Skardu Airport an all-weather and international airport.
Apart from these two, work is underway for the construction of Chilas Airport.
PIA and the Central Aviation Authority (CAA) are introducing a series of initiatives aimed at reviving tourism. Of these, the most prominent is the announcement for the launch of a new air service “Sadpara Air Safari, which will begin operations from June 12th. According to details, this air service will operate every Saturday from the New Islamabad Airport and fly over the mighty K2, Nanga Parbat, Gaherbrum peaks, Deosai plains and famous Saif ul Maluk lake at a cost of PKR 25,000. The passengers can decide if they want to stay or take the next flight back to Islamabad. This is one-of-a-kind initiative that has never been introduced in Pakistan before, and will enhance travelling activities in the country.
You can easily book your ticket online and avail special discounts as well
In addition to the Air Safari, the CAA has also issued an TPRI (Tourism Promotion and Regional Integration) licence to a new private airline, North Air. This airline will run on routes Islamabad and Gilgit, Islamabad-Skardu, Islamabad-Chitral and Islamabad-Gwadar, and is aimed at serving tourists and business travellers.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the CAA has issued that all tourists planning to travel to Gilgit and Skardu will have to present a vaccination certificate, to be able to access the region.
Pakistan is all prepared for hosting you and your families during this tourist season 2021. Where are you headed next? Check these places out!
If you are planning a trip to Pakistan’s northern areas, be sure to check these guides:
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