President Dr. Arif Alvi on Tuesday officially launched Azad Jammu and Kashmir’s first-ever airline named Kashmir Air as part of efforts to promote tourism in AJK.
Kashmir Air, a venture of a US-based electronic healthcare management company, MTBC, is the first private airline of AJK that has obtained a license from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Kashmir Air will initially launch commercial helicopter flights to AJK and northern areas of Pakistan to transport tourists. In the first stage, the air carrier will operate with three AW139 helicopters flying on three routes:
- Rawalkot to Muzaffarabad
- Mirpur to Muzaffarabad, and
- Bhimbar to Muzaffarabad
Domestic and international ops
In the second stage, the airline will commence domestic and international operations. Domestic flights will be between Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Later, the airline will start international operations flying between Pakistan and the Gulf countries.
Addressing the launch ceremony held in Bagh, AJK on Tuesday, President Arif Alvi said Azad Kashmir is blessed with immense natural beauty and has tremendous tourism potential. He urged the private sector to step up in developing and promoting AJK’s tourism sector to its full potential.
Speaking on the occasion, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas said that launch of a private airline in AJK will promote tourism in the region. He further said that the main objective of the incumbent AJK government is to provide maximum employment opportunities to the youth in the private sector.
Chairman MTBC and the owner of the airline Mahmud-ul-Haq was also present at the launch of Kashmir Air. He said the initiative aims to allow tourists from Pakistan and across the world could witness the breathtaking landscapes of the northern areas.
Solidarity with IIOJK
President Arif Alvi also expressed solidarity with people of IIOJK, saying they have given matchless sacrifices and Pakistan will continue to support them politically, diplomatically, and morally until they are given the right to self-determination as per United Nations resolutions.
Alvi said the United Nations has failed to resolve the Kashmir dispute as per the wishes of the Kashmiri people. He said the basic purpose behind establishment of UN was to save the world from wars and conflicts but unfortunately, since its inception, it has been protecting interests of the western countries.