Mon. Feb 6th, 2023

Gilgit Airport shut down after Air Traffic Controller is arrested by district administration

Flights to Gilgit will not be able to land today, because the airport’s only air traffic controller, Yasir Iqbal, was arrested yesterday by the district administration.

According to details, the Deputy Commissioner of Gilgit ordered detention of Air Traffic Controller after complaints were launched by a PIA pilot over non-chopping of some trees in the runway’s surrounding.

The pilot, reportedly, complained that due to the trees landing and taking off planes was getting affected, and the planes can’t operate normally. The planes were taking lesser than usual number of passengers.

Acting on this complaint, the Deputy Commissioner ordered detention of Air Controller, who was also officiating as the Airport’s Manager.

The Air Traffic Controller was released after five hours, due to efforts of his colleagues and family members.

Responding to the arrest, the Air Controller has said that the Deputy Commissioner misused his authority and ordered his detention without any legal or logical grounds.

The Air Controller’s Guild/Association has protested against, what they have called, the Deputy Commissioner’s legal overreach and unjust action. They have said that a doctor has advised the air traffic controller to take rest for two days, to overcome the agony and trauma caused by the detention.

It is also being reported that the district administration is demanding a certain amount from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which is the custodian of all air ports, in lieu of cutting of the trees in the past.

As a result of the bureaucratic arm-twisting, and the consequent protest by civil aviation officials, hundreds of passengers are likely to miss their flights to and from Gilgit today.

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