SWAT, Mar.26 (DNA): The country’s national carrier, Pakistan Airlines (PIA) resumed flight operations to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)’s scenic Swat Valley after 17 years on Friday, according to Gwadar Pro.

The first flight to Swat Valley flew from Islamabad International Airport and landed at Saidu Sharif Airport.

“Another economy booster for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s tourism industry; air travel is live again,” announced KP Government spokesperson Kamran Bangash on twitter.

Chief Minister KP Mahmood Khan, Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, and Federal Minister for Communication and Postal Services Murad Saeed along with 44 other passengers took off from Islamabad for Saidu Sharif Airport Swat and landed at Saidu Sharif Airport Swat. 

Before flying, the official cut the cake to celebrate the inauguration.

There will be two flights to and from Saidu Sharif Airport to Islamabad and Lahore in a week.
During the militancy period from 2007-2009, tourism was almost destroyed in the valley. However, security forces cleaned the valley from the militants and restored peace in the valley. 

The people of Swat Valley and Xinjiang have centuries of old cultural and business ties, as they are geographically close to each other. 

Over the history, the people of Swat would travel through Gilgit-Baltistan to Xinjiang, China to bring goods and people of both regions had entered into marital relations, according to local historians. 

Currently, Mingora City of Swat is known for the markets of Chinese goods. The business continues to prevail via land route and sea.

In recent interactions with Gwadar Pro, the business community of Mingora had demanded the government to start direct flights from Swat Airport to China to reduce travel expenses and time. According to officials in Aviation, soon the airport would be open to international flights including to China.