PIA To Resume Flights To Swat Valley’s Saidu Sharif Airport After 17 years

The airport was shut down in 2004 due to the deteriorating law and order situations in the region.

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A view of the Saidu Sharif Airport (SDT) in Swat (DAWN).

PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) will resume flight operations from next week, to the country’s scenic Swat valley after nearly 17 years.

“PIA is going to resume flight operations to Saidu Sharif Airport (SDT), Swat, after 17 years,” PIA spokesperson Abdullah Hafeez Khan informed the Arab News, referring to Swat’s only airport.

As per details, the airport was shut down in 2004 due to the deteriorating law and order situations in the region.

The Taliban took over Swat from 2007-2009, destroying tourism.

Malam Jabba, Swat Valley.

Nevertheless, army operations to clear out militant safe havens and improved security have allowed tourism to re-emerge on the Hindu Kush mountain range in recent years.

As part of the initiative, the national flag carrier will operate a test flight to the airport using an ATR aircraft in the next few days.

Kalam, Swat.

The motive of resuming the flights now, Khan explained, was “to encourage tourism in the region.”

Yellow (Swat District), Orange (Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJOK)), Brown (Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir(IIOJK), Orangish-Brown (Rest of Pakistan). [Gilgit-Baltistan, AJOK, and IIOJK were colored by the author, Omair Kamran.]
“There is huge potential,” the spokesman remarked. 

Mingora city in the Swat district is the largest city and the epicenter of social, cultural, and economic activities in the Malakand Division, KPK.

He added there would be two weekly flights from Lahore, with a 15-minute stopover in Islamabad: “Then the flight will proceed to Saidu Sharif.”

Established in 1978, the airport, which handled two daily flights from Peshawar and Islamabad, was closed during militancy in Swat valley.

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