What Is The Government Doing With Walton Airport – Facts
For those that are acquainted with this hundred-year-old heritage facility or have been on fun plane rides with their friends and family would know what value Walton Airport holds for the country. Walton Airport is where 60 percent of Pakistan’s general aviation and flying training takes place. It is home to 6 flying schools where hundreds of young talented pilots and aircraft engineers from all over the country come to learn and train. These men and women not only learn flying and engineering at Walton but many are professional flight instructors and charter pilots as well. Currently, a stunning fleet of over 50 aircrafts stands at the airport.
Over the last decade, governments have ruled that Walton Airport would be demolished and replaced with ‘money-generating’ high-rise buildings; courtesy of Lahore Central Business District Development Authority. The matter has been argued in courts for many years; students and instructors of Walton plead their case against a government that wishes to put commercial interests before that of their aviation industry. The result is very much evident.
Recently, the court issued a Stay Order, stating that flight operations at Walton Airport will resume until a new aviation facility at Muridke is constructed and fully operational, as promised. On the 25th, however, the Civil Aviation Authority acted in contempt of court and ordered flight operations to halt. The issue is currently being decided in court and one can only hope that the matter is decided in favor of the hundreds of students whose flying careers are at the risk of being jeopardized.
At a time when the aviation industry has taken numerous hits, one would hope that the government would not insist on demolishing Lahore’s prime aviation facility without even providing an alternative. Hundreds of boys and girls who travelled from across the country to become pilots and engineers – whose families have invested millions in the hopes of securing their children’s aviation careers – are today left at a standstill. If an alternative facility is not created and operations continue to be halted, there is also bound to be a massive shortage of pilots appearing for airline as cadets.Students and instructors will be holding a peaceful protest on Monday at 4 pm at Liberty chowk. They have also begun a #SaveWaltonAiport campaign on Twitter and Instagram in the hopes that it will garner the attention it deserves.