FAISALABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem said on Thursday that the Faisalabad Airport should be upgraded within 90 days in order to enable direct international flights to and from the city.
He was talking to National Assembly Member Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan and Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) president Rizwan Ashraf during a visit to Faisalabad Airport.
Azeem said the prime minister had asked him to visit Faisalabad on Khan’s request.
“The prime minister agrees that Faisalabad Airport should be upgraded and international flights should be accommodated,” he said.
Azeem visited various sections of the airport and said that the arrival, departure and VIP lounges, cargo areas and other sections would be upgraded to international standards.
He said instructions in this regard had been issued to the relevant authorities.
Afzal said upgrading Faisalabad Airport was imperative for facilitating travellers to the city.
He said Faisalabad was an industrial hub of the province.
“A new airport will attract foreign investment to the city,” he said.
He said the government wanted to make access to major economic zones of the country easier so that development could be expedited.
FCCI President Ashraf said Qatar Airways had announced to start a Faisalabad-Doha flight from July 17, 2015.
He said that initially, the airline would offer three flights a week.
He added that Fly Dubai, Ittehad Airline and Emirates Airline had also made arrangements to start direct international flights from Faisalabad.
He said civil aviation authorities were consulting stakeholders in this regard.
Standing Committee on Aviation chairman Mian Javed Iqbal was also present.
He said it was necessary to upgrade airports as part of the government’s bid to revamp Pakistan International Airlines.
“Airports and airlines go hand in hand,” he said. “A good airline will not matter if it is not accessible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 10th, 2015.