ISLAMABAD, Jan 15 (APP):The flight operation at Skardu Airport came to a ‘complete halt’ after the central valley of Gilgit-Baltistan received heavy snowfall during the last four days, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said on Wednesday.

The Skardu air facility, located at 7,500 feet above the sea level, is one of the world’s highest airports.

The CAA authorities started the runway clearance work on emergency basis on special directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan as the heavy snowfall, continued since Sunday, had stuck up the tourists visiting Skardu and adjoining recreational sites, a CAA press release here said.

More than 18 inch snow had piled up on the airfield, the authority said. “Snow removal work from car parking area, access road, runway and manoeuvring area was started at 0900 hours on Tuesday with all available resources, including one snow plough machine (Babcat) and three tractors.”

By the day time on Wednesday, it said, around 4,000 feet runway from ‘threshold runway 14’ had been cleared of snow, while ‘runway 14/32’ remained fully covered with it.

Later, the CAA in its late night press note said the clean-up operation continued throughout the night and the snow was removed from one runway, having 8,000 feet length, while the clearance work on second runway of 12,000 feet length was in progress.

The local administration was also helping the CAA in clearing the airfield to resume the regular flight operation at the earliest.