President directs CAA to conduct studies for setting up international airports in Chilas and Mirpur. PHOTO: FILE
President Asif Ali Zardari has directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to carry out a study on constructing two new all-weather international airports in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
“The president has directed CAA to carry out a study for the construction of the Chilas International Airport,” confirmed CAA spokesperson Pervez George on Thursday. He added that studies for constructing another international airport in Mirpur in AJK are also being conducted.
According to CAA officials, the authority has already started paperwork for constructing a new international airport in Chilas in order to facilitate G-B residents and attract tourists to the region. Though Chilas already has a small airport, no passenger airline operates from there currently.
CAA Director General (DG) Capt (retd) Nadeem Khan Yousafzai has also visited Mirpur and met with local administration officials for constructing another international airport there. The AJK government has promised complete assistance for the task.
Officials said physical work on the two proposed airports will start by the end of 2014. After their construction, there will be over 141 airfields, both civil and military, in Pakistan. CAA oversees all civil airports in the country, apart from Sialkot International Airport which is owned and operated by the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2012.