CHITRAL: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to expand the Chitral airport in anticipation of an increase in air traffic and influx of visitors after the completion of the ongoing projects being constructed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Sources said the government had given a go-ahead to the CAA to start work on the project after the completion of the expansion work on Bacha Khan International Airport Peshawar. Under the plan, the airports in Swat and Bannu would also be made operational again.
To expand the airport in Chitral, the CAA would acquire more land in the vicinity of the airport. A number of houses and other buildings, including hotels, would be demolished for the expansion of the airport. In this regard, a survey has already been undertaken.
Besides the expansion of the runway, more buildings would be built at the airport. The dilapidated road to the airport from the Chitral town would also be widened and reconstructed.
With the construction of the Lowari tunnel, the PIA has reduced its flights on the Chitral-Islamabad and Chitral-Peshawar routes. At a meeting held in Peshawar to review arrangements for the annual Shandur polo festival recently, it was decided that the PIA would increase its flights from Islamabad to Chitral from July 5 to facilitate the tourists coming to attend the three-day festival starting on July 7.
The PIA currently operate two flights a week, on every Friday and Sunday. This has affected the arrival of tourists in Chitral and there have been demands by tour operators and others to increase the flights to at least seven a week. –S. Nazir Hussain