ISLAMABAD - Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan Monday vowed to upgrade the airports located in northern parts of the country to facilitate local and foreign tourists. He said the government would make all-out efforts to upgrade the airports at par with international standards in order to boost tourism in the country.

“The allocation of frequencies can be made conditional for international airlines to encourage their landings at airports in the northern area of Pakistan,” Sarwar said, addressing the award ceremony of Tourism Promotion and Regional Integration (TPRI) License here. The TPRI, launched under the National Aviation Policy 2019, is aimed at ensuring facilitation of Ease of Doing Business, reduction in Cost of Doing Business and provision of affordable tourism opportunities to investors. The minister underlined the need for protecting and maintaining the heritage sites, and exploring new tourist resorts to attract huge investments in tourism sector. The industry had immense potential in shape of high peaks, Alps, snow-covered mountains, gushing waterfall and lakes, fairy meadows, and the Gandhara strip, he added.

Sarwar said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was fully cognizant of the potential owned by the country, especially in tourism sector and would achieve all the achievable targets given by Prime Minister Imran Khan in various areas.  “The country needs ownership as it is a shelter for our future generations,” he remarked. Secretary Aviation/Director General Civil Aviation Authority, Hassan Nasir Jamy said the aviation ministry had formulated National Aviation Policy 2019 last year to boost domestic aviation industry, besides attracting private investment for the improvement of the national carrier’s financial health.

Hassan appreciated all the stakeholders who made contribution in introducing the aviation policy. He said the foreign organizations and magazines were recognizing the true potential of Pakistan’s tourism and ranking it as top tourist destination that would eventually project the positive image of the country abroad. The secretary said the government was ought to provide a policy framework and it was the private sector who had to take the lead in its implementation.

Akbar Raheem Jaffer, the Chief Executive Officer of M/S Aircraft Sales and Services, who received the first-ever TPRI said the charters would be purchased to cater the need of local and foreign tourists, visiting  the country’s far flung areas. “We will work closely with the government to uplift tourism and aviation industries,” urging the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to improve aviation infrastructure in the country.

Highlighting the salient features of TPRI, an official source in the CAA told APP that the license included no landing, housing and air navigation charges at both ends routes/destination. The TPRI license would be issued within 60 days with validity of five years. There would be no rent for aeronautical services, office space at specified airports, he said and added that special rules would be applicable for the TPRI licensee to operate between trunk/primary routes.

He said tax incentives might be provided to the TPRI licensee by the Federal Board of Revenue for the ‘Socio-Economic’ routes. The official said the TPRI license would be required in addition to Charter license for carrying out commuter operation on those routes. “TPRI operators can operate on socio economic routes with aircrafts having upto 40 seats capacity,” he added.