‘Incomplete’ Islamabad airport ready for take-off?
ISLAMABAD: With the scheduled inauguration of the New Islamabad International Airport (NIIA) only few days away, the airport still lies incomplete with inadequate facilities as the prospects of further delay in its formal opening seem to loom large.
According to the details, the inauguration of the recently-constructed airport is scheduled for April 20. But, it may be delayed as construction work on some of its sections is still ongoing and may take some time to complete.
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.
Moreover, 1,000 personnel of the ASF could be arranged till now against the required number of 2,000.
Basic essentials such as water, gas and electricity have not been made available at the airport. A generator rented from a private contractor is being used to meet the electricity needs of the airport.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who recently visited the airport, is said to have expressed displeasure and reprimanded the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) over the delay in completion of the necessary facilities at the airport.
During his visit, Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation, Sardar Mehtab and other senior officials briefed the premier on operational preparedness and facilities for passengers at the airport.
He was informed that the new airport has been completed at an estimated cost of 85 billion rupees, which has two runways and will be capable of handling 9 million passengers every year with 90 operational immigration counters.
Located at 30km from Islamabad the construction on the new airport was started in April 2007.
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.