RAWALPINDI: Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan on Friday said the government had decided to upgrade Skardu airport to international standard.

Talking to Dawn on Friday, he said the licence period of private airlines had been extended from one year to two years.

Replying to a question, he said new private airline Air Sial would start its operation from Sialkot International Airport by the end of April his year.

Initially, the new airlines will operate on domestic routes for one year and later will extend its operation to international routes.

He said the new private airline was in the process of purchasing three Airbus A-320 airplanes to operate on domestic routes for one year.

Regarding his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM Secretariat on Friday he said he discussed issues related to aviation and political situation.

The federal minister said that the process of issuing licence to three more private airlines was under way. He also said that the government was also giving permission to the private airlines to operate on three new routes.

The aviation minister further said with the upgradation of Skardu airport, northern parts of the country would attract more tourists.

The up-gradation of the airport included the construction of new runway, new terminal building, apron and provision of other facilities to cater to international flight operation.

Earlier on Jan 5, the government issued first Tourism Promotion and Regional Integration Licence aimed at promoting tourism in the country.

It was termed as an initiative of developing tourism sector along with regional connectivity which was important step for economic upbringing of previously isolated areas of Pakistan.

The federal minister said that Pakistan was a safe tourist destination and it was the best time to take advantage of the improved security situation and other conditions.

Federal Minister assured full support to aviation and tourism sectors.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2020

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