For the first time, Pakistan will witness helicopter services in the Northern areas. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) recently informed the parliament that it will launch a helicopter service for tourists. This measure is taken in hopes to promote tourism in Pakistan as it will make the country’s beautiful mountains, valleys and rivers more accessible for visitors.
The Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority briefed the Senate Aviation Committee about the initiative on Thursday.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, a member of the committee asked why a helicopter facility was not being introduced to promote tourism. To answer this question CAA DG, Khaqan Murtaza, informed the Senate committee that plans are in place for the introduction of helicopter services in Northern Areas.
CAA DG Khaqan Murtaza also informed that flights to Swat’s Saidu Sharif airport were suspended due to lack of the required number of passengers. He said a mere six passengers traveled on a flight to Swat, due to which the flight operation was suspended.
He was also questioned about a fake license scam to which he replied licenses of 82 pilots out of 262 were declared to be fake which is a growing issue in the country. The aviation committee asked him to draft a report on the matter in the next meeting.
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Senator Aun Abbas came up with the suggestion that the people responsible for the issuance of fake licenses should have been taken into custody under murder charges. He asked if nobody knew about pilots’ bogus licenses before Ghulam Sarwar was appointed as aviation minister. He lauded the minister for holding an inquiry into the matter.
Members in the meeting also raised concerns about PIA’s performance and inquired about the investigations going on regarding PIA’s plane crash last year. The CAA secretary informed that the national carrier has to take care of an extraordinary debt of Rs 455 billion. A rebuilding plan has been submitted to the federal cabinet.
Boosting tourism in Pakistan
Tourism is one of the focused areas of the present government. Several initiatives are being undertaken to garner the potential offered by the tourism industry.
Earlier this year, the Pakistan tourism development cooperation (PTDC), after hiring international experts, finalized a plan for promoting tourism. The initiative included an inclusive project “Brand Pakistan” which was meant to promote the country’s tourist attractions across the world through virtual galleries, videos, and documentaries.
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Furthermore, Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Thursday agreed to further strengthen their bilateral relations through strategic partnership and enhanced cooperation in the areas of trade, economy, culture, tourism, and connectivity for mutual benefit.