Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) on Monday commenced direct flights from Dubai to Skardu, offering UAE residents a new attractive tourist destination, which is truly a heaven on Earth for global travellers.
The flight departs from Dubai International Airport Terminal 1 to Skardu on Saturdays and returns on Tuesdays, making it a key tourist hub for residents
PIA’s pilot and top officials pose for a group photo at the Skardu Airport.
A simple but solemn ceremony was organised at Skardu Airport on the landing of the first PIA flight from Dubai. The flight received a water cannon welcome upon landing at the airport while the traditional caps of Gilgit-Baltistan and other gifts were distributed to the passengers. The pilot of the aircraft opened the cockpit window and hoisted the national flag in connection with Independence Day.
During the flight the weather was clear and the passengers really enjoyed the breathtaking views of Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindukush on a bright sunny day. The pilot shared the useful information while flying on the mighty and snow-covered Nanga Parbat, Rakaposhi and lots of peaks and mountain ranges.
Upon landing in Skardu, the tourists were warmly welcomed by the airport authorities, top officials and dignitaries including a water cannon salute. All the passengers were greeted and were given local gifts.
Located at 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) above sea level, the city of wonders is home to lakes, waterfalls and springs. Deosai National Park, Upper Kachura Lake, Manthokha Waterfalls and Kharpocho Fort and Shangrila are the key areas of attractions for the tourists. Due to snow-covered and lofty mountains the temperatures normally go down below -20°C during the winter in Skardu, which is also a perfect destination for skiing lovers.
Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf Today that this historical flight is a giant leap in Pakistan-UAE ties and it would further spice up the tourism sector of Pakistan. He noted that it will open more avenues for global tourists which are untapped.
The ambassador noted that Pakistan has a huge potential for the toursim sector, adding that they are also planning and keen to launch direct flights to Gilgit and Chitral.
Aasim Imtiaz, regional manager for UAE, PIA, said that the first ever Dubai-Skurdu direct international fligts is a great initiative and a momentous occasion in the aviation history of
the national carrier of Pakistan. He noted that the flagship airline has deployed Airbus 320 with a capacity for 170 people, adding that currently they are experiencing 60 per cent occupancy.
To a question about ticket prices, he mentioned that a one-way ticket costs around Dhs500 and a return ticket is between Dhs1,300 to Dhs1,500, which according to him is very reasonable.
In order to explore the natural beauty of Gilgit Baltistan, its lofty and snow-covered mountains and greenery, they are in talks with various tourist operators and Pakistan Hotel Federation for attracting more tourists from the UAE and Dubai to Skardu and neighbouring areas.
With the start of international flights, the PIA introduced Skardu to the entire world. The tourists will be able to enjoy the breathtaking views of Gilgit-Baltistan on an international flight. They will also be able to enjoy beautiful views of the snow-capped Himalayan mountains including K2 and Nanga Parbat.
The PIA’s weekly flights from Dubai International Airport to Skardu Airport will play an important role in promoting tourism in the northern areas of Pakistan.
PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Air Vice Marshal Amir Hayat, senior civil aviation officials and other political and social personalities and government officials welcomed the passengers.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Secretary Mohyuddin Ahmed Wani termed the development “a historic moment”. In a statement issued today, he said the commencement of international flights to Skardu would open up new possibilities for travel and connect the region with the rest of the world.
“It’s a great step towards promoting tourism and enhancing the region’s connectivity,” he added.