Gilgit: Pakistan International Airline’s first ever direct flight from Lahore landed at the Skardu airport on Wednesday (today). Taking off from the Allama Iqbal International Airport the flight PK-8453 reached Skardu airport in one and a half hour earlier this morning. The flight had 153 passengers on board. The PIA officials welcomed the passengers with bouquets at the Skardu airport. Gilgit-Baltistan tourism minister Raja Nasir Ali Khan said the first PIA flight coming directly from Lahore also received a water cannon welcome upon landing at the Skardu Airport. The minister said that there will be two direct flight operations from Lahore to Skardu every week, aimed to boost tourism in the region. “I promise to take the tourism sector of Gilgit-Baltistan to new heights during my tenure as tourism minister,” he promised. Skardu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Pakistan. Attracting thousands of local and foreign tourists every year. The inaccessibility in the region due to proper roads and the long travel time served as a major hindrance for travelers. The normal road route into Skardu is via the Karakorum Highway and a Skardu Road (S1) into the Skardu Valley from it. Roads once linked Skardu to Srinagar and Leh, though none are open for cross-LoC travel. It is important to mention here that prior to this flight, PIA resumed flight operations in Swat after a hiatus of 17 years.