After being stuck in development hell for several years, New Islamabad Airport will finally be opened to the public by next year, according to Secretary Aviation Division Irfan Elahi.
During a briefing to the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) members, he said that the access roads to the airport will be completed within this year and regular flights will start from 30th June 2017.
The Start of the Project
The project first started in 1984, the purchase of land also started the same year near Fatehjang. The average price per kanal of the land bought was around Rs 70,000.
The construction was started after the prime minister at that time Shaukat Aziz laid the foundation stone for the airport in 2004. The construction was started without apporving the design and it was given to 17 different contractors.
Benazir Bhutto International Airport in Rawalpindi currently serves around 3 million people every year. It has 20 check in counters and parking space for upto 400 vehicles. The new airport will have 90 check in counters, space for 2000 vehicles and can serve upto 9 million people per year.
The chairman of the NASC Rana Mohammad Hayat Khan said that there should be no further delays in the completion of the airport project.
The cost of the project has also increased due to various reasons and we cannot afford further delays
He added that the quality should also be maintained during the construction as the quality of the airport will reflect the image of the country due to being in the capitol city in the federal territory.
During the meeting of the NASC, questions were raised about the runways being too close to allow two aircrafts to land or take-off at the same time. An official from the Civil Aviation Authority replied that,
Sometimes, a runway cannot be used due to problems such leaked fuel on the runway. So instead of stopping flight operations, the second runway will be used should those circumstances present.
Despite the obvious cover up by the Civil Aviation Authority, the design is still clearly flawed in nature. The original design called for two runways to allow for taking off and landing at the same time but the runways were constructed too close together to allow simultaneous take off and landing on the two runways.
Regardless, it will be the best airport in Pakistan once it goes into operation.