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Inauguration of new Islamabad airport delayed again

ISLAMABAD: The inauguration of new Islamabad international airport has been delayed again due to incomplete construction work.

According to civil aviation officials, the airport is now is set to open on May 3. The new date surfaced following officials’ made an advance tour of the facility.

The inauguration of the recently-constructed airport was earlier scheduled for April 20. But, it has been delayed as construction work on some of its sections is still ongoing and may take some time to complete.

new Islamabad airport
A general view of the health and passport control area during a media tour of the newly built Islamabad International Airport, ahead of its official opening

The building that will house Airport Security Force (ASF) base camp is still incomplete as only two of its planned blocks have been constructed as yet. Besides, ladies hostel, mess, utility block, admin block couldn’t also be built within the stipulated time.

The new Islamabad International Airport, 30 kilometers from the capital, will be capable of serving 9 million passengers per year and 50,000 metric tons of cargo.

It has been under construction for more than a decade, encountering repeated delays and missing deadlines for opening dating back to 2016. The May 3 opening date itself is a delay from the previous deadline of Friday.

new Islamabad airport

“It has been decided that the operational date of the airport will be May 3 … not April 20, as originally announced,” said Nadir Shafi Dar, director of planning and development for the Civil Aviation Authority.

The new airport will have runways capable of handling larger A380 jets that are now unable to land in the capital.

It will also have 15 air bridges to allow boarding directly from the terminal, instead passengers riding buses to all planes.

The “Y” shaped new airport spreads over 19 square kilometers with 15 jetties (passenger boarding bridges), including facilities to accommodate two double-deck A380, the world’s largest airplane, 15 remote bays and seven remote bays for small aircraft such as ATRs. It will be the biggest international airport in the country in terms of landing and passenger handling facilities. For the 15 bays, the same number of lounges have been built to avoid mixing of passengers. The new airport has two runways each 3.5 km long.

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