Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is set to revive direct flights between Lahore and Skardu in a bid to promote tourism within Pakistan. The national airline aims to commence domestic flights on June 3, 2023, operating between Allama Iqbal International Airport (LHE) and Skardu International Airport (KDU). Initially, PIA plans to offer two weekly flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays, providing a convenient travel option for tourists and locals alike.
Previously, the only available route to travel from Lahore to Skardu with PIA involved connecting flights. Skardu, known for its breathtaking natural landscapes, is a popular tourist destination within Pakistan. The reintroduction of direct flights is expected to facilitate easier access and attract more visitors to explore the region’s scenic beauty.
While the specific aircraft for the Lahore-Skardu route has not been announced, PIA is likely to utilize its fleet of regional planes, including the ATR turboprop aircraft such as the ATR 42s and ATR 72s. However, it is worth noting that PIA also operates a fleet of 15 Airbus A320s and 12 Boeing 777 widebody jets, as reported by Planespotters.net.
PIA’s decision to resume domestic flights aligns with the vision of the Federal Minister for Civil Aviation, Khawaja Saad Rafique, who aims to enhance tourism within the country. Additionally, the airline has been actively reducing ticket prices on select routes to attract more passengers. Recently, PIA lowered fares on its Beijing flights, targeting students and business travelers from both Pakistan and China.
China has become a favored destination for Pakistani students pursuing educational opportunities, with a significant number enrolled in Chinese institutions. In response, PIA introduced ticket price reductions, offering students discounts of up to 27% for flights between Beijing and Islamabad. The discounted fares were initially introduced in December 2022 and later extended to include the Islamabad-Chengdu route.
As part of its efforts to provide convenient travel options, PIA aims to expand its domestic flight operations in the future. This move reflects the airline’s commitment to supporting the growth of tourism within Pakistan and catering to the evolving needs of passengers.
Flight Travel Time to Skardu:
- Islamabad (ISB): Approximately 1 hour 15 minutes
- Lahore (LHE): Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes
- Karachi (KHI): Approximately 2 hours 15 minutes
- Peshawar (PEW): Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes
- Quetta (UET): Approximately 2 hours 30 minutes
- Multan (MUX): Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes
- Faisalabad (LYP): Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes
- Sialkot (SKT): Approximately 1 hour 30 minutes