Skardu, a jewel nestled in the heart of Gilgit-Baltistan’s stunning landscape, has registered its name in aviation history as Pakistan International Airline (PIA) accomplishes a remarkable feat on the country’s 76th Independence Day. The airport witnessed the touchdown of Skardu’s inaugural international flight from Dubai on August 14, 2023.
Dramatic scenes at #Skardu, when the historic 1st Int’l flight touches down at the tarmac, marshalled to a water cannon salute, and pilot waving the national flag from the cockpit window.
— PIA (@Official_PIA) August 14, 2023
This historic development follows a revelation by Gilgit-Baltistan’s Chief Secretary, Mohyuddin Ahmed Wani, that marked August 14 as the day when Skardu would host its first international flight from Dubai.The debut flight is set to pave the way for a new era of connectivity. Subsequent to the inaugural flight, PIA is geared to commence a weekly flight schedule, offering the Dubai-Skardu route starting Saturday, August 19, and from Skardu to Dubai starting Tuesday, August 22.
To ensure seamless travel experiences for passengers, PIA’s spokesperson highlighted that the inaugural Dubai-Skardu flight will later extend its journey to the capital city, Islamabad, facilitating convenient onward travel for travelers.
Skardu Airport’s role in enabling this milestone is paramount. Serving as the sole airport in northern Pakistan capable of accommodating larger aircraft, Skardu’s runways render it an essential hub for long-distance flights because of short runways at Gilgit and Chitral airports.
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan granted Skardu Airport the status of an ‘international’ facility. Despite this recognition, the airport’s full potential remained untapped due to the absence of a dedicated refueling facility for international flights.
Addressing this concern head-on, the diligent efforts of aviation authorities have borne fruit. The inauguration of the refueling facility on August 11 signifies a pivotal step toward realizing the airport’s international capabilities.
Recent times have witnessed a surge in tourism to the region, and the airport’s expanded offerings are reflective of this trend. With twelve Airbus A320 flights having forged connections between Skardu and major Pakistani cities, the region’s status as a prime tourist destination is being unveiled.
As the maiden international flight lands on Skardu’s soil, Pakistan commemorates its 76th Independence Day with a testament to progress, unity, and achievement. This milestone underscores not only the aviation industry’s advancement but also the nation’s unwavering spirit as it forges ahead into a future ripe with potential.