New Islamabad airport to be operational by July 2017

Around 95pc work on the New Islamabad International Airport has been completed and the remaining would be done by March 2017. The airport would be ready for operations by July this year.

This was stated by Secretary Aviation Division Irfan Elahi during a briefing to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House on Monday.

The premier was informed that the new airport would have the capacity of handling 4,500 passengers at a time with 15 docking stations where two A-380 aircraft would be able to dock simultaneously. The airport will have state-of-the-art facilities, including cargo handling, safety and security, passenger facilitation and parking services.

Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) Shahid Ashraf Tarar added that the new airport was being provided the main road access from both the M-1 and M-2 motorways and also from the G.T. Road (N-5). The airport will also have access from Islamabad metro bus service that the prime minister will inaugurate on August 14, 2017, along with the new airport.

Mr Sharif directed the officials that no compromise should be made on the quality of work on the airport facilities, access roads and the metro bus link as it would be a sign of Pakistan’s progress.

He said infrastructure projects were the backbone of our growing economy and essential for facilitating the citizens.

The project was conceived in 1984 and the acquisition of land for the airport was started the same year near Fatehjang.

In 2004, the stone-laying ceremony of the airport was held in which the then prime minister Shaukat Aziz was the chief guest. But the construction of the airport was started without the approval of any design. At the same time, construction projects were awarded to 17 contractors.

The initial PC-I of Rs37 billion was approved in 2008 but it lacked a fuel system, radar and radio control buildings, aprons, a sewage treatment plant, electricity and availability of water. It is estimated that around Rs100 billion will be spent on the airport.

Currently, the operational airport near Rawalpindi provides services to three million people per year and has 20 check-in counters and parking place for 400 vehicles. The new airport with 90 check-in counters and parking facility for 2,000 vehicles will cater to over nine million people every year.

To supply water to the airport, two dams – Ramma and Kassana – would be constructed. The Ramma Dam to be built at a cost of Rs1,657 million will supply 3.3 million gallon daily (MGD) water while the Kassana Dam, which will be completed in the second phase, will provide 503 MGD water to the airport.

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