Government has planned helicopter rides for Skardu and Gilgit to promote tourism

The government has also planned international flights and local private airline flights for Skardu.

A helicopter safari ride by Great Karakorum Expeditions.

The federal government is planning to schedule helicopter rides to Gilgit and Skardu to promote tourism in the region.

This was revealed by the Director-General of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Flt Lt (Retd) Khaqan Murtaza, in a presser on Wednesday.

According to Murtaza, the government plans to utilize helicopters as a means of transport and exploration to boost tourism in Skardu, Gilgit, and Chitral.

A helicopter safari ride.

The CAA Director-General also confirmed the earlier development of the government to allow international flight operations in Skardu.

It is relevant to note that Skardu Airport (KDU) is currently being revamped to facilitate international flight operations.

The main work is to be done on the runway, which is being expanded for wide-body aircraft landing.

Skardu Aiport during winter. (Abbas Shah / Wikimedia)

Moreover, a helipad — a landing and take-off area for helicopters — is also planned to be constructed around the airport, and in other places in the region as well.

The government is now also permitting local private airlines to conduct flight operations to Skardu Airport.

Airblue — a local private airline — is all set to begin flights for Skardu from the middle of August.

A close-up view of a plane on Skardu Aiport runway. (Arif Khan / Flickr)

Likewise, North Air, a local private airline about to be launched someday, has recently been awarded a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to operate flights from and to Skardu.

These latest initiatives are part of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision to take the maximum advantage of Gilgit-Baltistan as a tourism hub.

On the other hand, the CAA Director-General has hinted that the helicopter rides for tourists will also be available to be operated for Gwadar, Turbat, and Mohenjo-Daro in the near future.

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