GILGIT: A seven-member Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) expert team arrived here on Tuesday and started initial work on the reconstruction and renovation of the long neglected and dilapidated Chilas airfield as the airstrip was crucial for construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
The airstrip would facilitate logistical movement, casualty evacuation and visits of different local and foreign delegations during construction of the dam.
The seven-member team, formed by the CAA to initiate the project and headed by Ubaidur Rehman Abbasi, the Chief Operating Officer of the CAA, arrived here and started the initial work.
The team visited Chilas on Wednesday and had meeting with Wapda and local government officials. Chilas airfield consists of a runway of (4500×100) which was built by British rulers in 1927. After the independence, it was developed by the Frontier Works’ Organisation to support the construction of Karakoram Highway. Pakistan Air Force flew C-130 planes from there in late 1960 and early 70s.
The all-weather airstrip is situated 160 kilometres from Gilgit town and its functioning would resolve the crucial weather issue which normally disrupts air travel in northern areas.
The CAA has already purchased extra land near the Skardu airport in a bid to construct a modern international airport. A source said that the Chinese government had requested the previous federal government to set up an airport of international standard in GB to facilitate foreign visitors and delegations visiting GB in connection with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.