Tourism industry: Govt to seek Chinese help for ‘all-weather’ airports in G-B

Published: October 2, 2011
Airports in Gilgit and Skardu will be upgraded, enabling aircraft to land and take off in all weathers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Airports in Gilgit and Skardu will be upgraded, enabling aircraft to land and take off in all weathers. PHOTO: EXPRESS


The federal government wants to seek Chinese help for making two of Gilgit-Baltistan’s (G-B) airports ‘all weather’ to guarantee uninterrupted flights in the mountainous region, sources said on Saturday.

“The airports in Gilgit and Skardu will be upgraded, enabling aircraft to land and take off in all weathers,” sources privy to the development told The Express Tribune on Saturday.

The tourism industry in G-B has suffered immensely over the years due to frequent flights cancellation to the region, famous among foreign and national tourists for its breathtaking beauty and majestic mountains. Tourism is also a major source of income for the population in G-B and enhanced airports would play an instrumental role in expanding the industry.

The journey from Islamabad to Gilgit via the Karakoram Highway (KKH) became almost inaccessible after the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, which left the KKH damaged. The previous 14-hour journey from Islamabad to Gilgit has now stretched to 24 hours, as bumpy roads continue irking tourists.

Currently the only air transport available to G-B are ATR aircraft of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA), with only two scheduled flights per day, however turbulent weather cause cancellations on a regular basis.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011. 

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Reader Comments (14)

  • H.A. Khan
    Oct 2, 2011 - 1:55PM

    This will be very positive for overall tourism of GB province and Pakistan. BUT we will need planes…


  • Oct 2, 2011 - 4:57PM

    Boeing 737s fly to Skardu btw.


  • irfan
    Oct 2, 2011 - 5:50PM

    plz do something ….patients and elders really suffer…..


  • Ejaz Ali
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:20PM

    This is an appreciable decision to make the airports of both Gilgit and Skardu (Baltistan) all-weather. Still there is a question that how PIA will ensure conducting of regular flights according to demand of passengers. If PIA en routes 3 to 4 flights daily from Islamabad to Gilgit and vice-versa then there is less need to take further steps.
    We, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, have paid high price for cancellation of official visits of state heads in the past due to bad weather. Foreign and domestic tourists reluctant to visit Gilgit-Baltistan due to uncertainty in flight schedule. The decision to make airports all-weather, dying tourism sector of Gilgit-Baltistan will thrive once again.


  • Was A Pakistani
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:26PM

    Question is who will visit the place? I dont doubt its potential I doubt the possibility of serious tourism developing in a country with so many hang ups…. Will anyone tolerate a female tourist walking around in shorts?


  • Mushtaq Ali Jafri
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:56PM

    So No Tax until basic civic facilities and freedoms are provided to the population there.


  • fahim
    Oct 2, 2011 - 10:28PM

    Why are major strategic assets handed over to the chinese ?? Pak has done the same thing in 80s, and became a client state of US. Now we are becoming worst by being a stooge to a communist hegemon in Asia. If this airport is required, dont pak has the capability to develop it on its own, or it doesnt have the money in banks. Unnecessarily including chinese in every project. Recommend

  • Truth
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:47AM

    @Was A Pakistani: You seems confused between tourism/ culture and geography with its ethnic back ground……The first thing tourist always prefer to adopt the local culture and enjoy the cultural richness of the societies…if you ever been to these regions, tourists enjoy and they are still come in 1000s of number from all around the world to gilgit-baltistan….we welcome an female tourist who wish to climb K2 in shorts..You can accompany, there is no problem at all… don’t mix this part of pakistan with tribal out skirts…..


  • Tourist
    Oct 3, 2011 - 2:13AM

    Why this sudden love for the people of Gilgit and Baltistan. You have never considered them human enough before. Are you sure it is tourists you are looking for, or does it have something to do with providing an airbase for the Chinese, one that could be used against India for instance.


  • Pundit
    Oct 3, 2011 - 8:50AM

    How apt: an all weather friend for an all weather airport!


  • Karim
    Oct 3, 2011 - 10:20AM

    why other private carriers are not running on these routes. They must also run flights on these routes, as per their licensing agreements.


  • Karim
    Oct 3, 2011 - 11:41AM

    @Was A Pakistani:
    weather of the region is such that you won’t need to wear shorts…


  • Karim
    Oct 3, 2011 - 3:13PM

    @H.A. Khan:
    there are other flight operators in the country and they are bound as per their licensing agreement and this would be the most profitable route if flights operate uninterrupted.


  • Mr. Hat Servant
    Nov 14, 2011 - 8:02AM

    All weather friend will provide all weather airport
    All Weather airport will be serviced by PIA Recommend

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