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Tourists shying away from Chitral due to wrong PIA flight schedule

CHITRAL: The selection of ‘inappropriate’ timings and days by the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) for Chitral is resulting in frequent cancellation of flights and inconvenience to the passengers.
The passengers complained that the airline had curtailed the number of flights on Chitral route from earlier 21 flights a week (three flights daily) to only two a week, which were being operated on Fridays and Sundays.
They said the gap of only one day between the two flight days of the week had been causing inconvenience for them as one had to wait for five consecutive days to avail himself of the flight. They said that by introducing a midweek flight instead of Sunday the problem could be resolved.
“A person coming to Chitral from Islamabad or Peshawar on Friday can’t return by the next available flight on Sunday and as such he has to wait for the next flight on coming Friday or Sunday. Only the flight on Tuesday or Wednesday can suit such passengers,” they said. They claimed that flights operation in the afternoon was also said to be faulty.
A former captain pilot of the airline, Shahzada Sirajul Mulk, said in the mountainous areas like Chitral the morning time was more airworthy than the afternoon when clouds started developing with each passing moment. He said due to the irrational approach of the airline regarding schedule of days and timings, tourists coming to Chitral for mountaineering and sightseeing got diverted to Gilgit-Baltistan due to the availability of daily two flights each for Gilgit and Skardu.
The local people insisted that there was no shortage of passengers and cargo to and from Chitral. They said a large number of foreigners had been engaged in work on power and road projects in the district who travelled to and from Chitral only by air.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2018

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