Government officials have confirmed that operations at New Islamabad International Airport will begin this Friday on April 20th and it is not getting delayed to a further date.
Aviation Secretary Squadron Leader (R) Muhammad Irfan Elahi confirmed on Monday that the opening date has not been changed and the airport will be operational as promised.
Social media has been rife with videos of damage from the recent rains and rumors that the airport’s inauguration might be delayed. Several videos surfaced online showing flooded halls and leaked pipelines within Islamabad International Airport.
The airport will be functional on 20th April, however, the formal inauguration date has indeed been shifted from 23rd April to 1st May, as confirmed by the secretary.
Reportedly, the airport still has electricity, gas, and water problems which is why it cannot be made fully functional just yet. Other than that, a separate base camp to accommodate Airport Security Force (ASF) is still unfinished and the airport can only house 1,100 security personnel, for now. The number of personnel actually needed is 2,500.
Moreover, the CAA clarified the water leakage issue saying that it was merely an early testing problem and has been resolved for now. Their press release says,
It is to further clarify that under the guidance and advice of Adviser to Prime Minister on Aviation and Secretary Aviation; the New Islamabad International Airport is going through several trial tests for the last 3 days. These trial tests include testing and inspection of various machineries and equipment. Contracted companies duly examined water pipes under full water pressure to avoid any inconvenience. During these test trials it was detected by the contracted companies that a pipe was leaking which was repaired in the shortest time. The leakage was minor and no damage to the facility is observed. The pipes as well as the equipment are all in good shape,
The halls and lounges are still in an unsightly state as heaps of garbage are still present there. Electricity and water are still an issue. Currently, there’s no electricity in the security base camp and their equipment is being run by an external power generator.
According to officials, ASF personnel will utilize old barracks for now and 1,200 more members will be included to bring the total number of stationed personnel to 2,300.
PAF To Set Up a Base
According to reports, PAF is setting up its own stations within the Islamabad International Airport to prepare fighter planes for “wartime”. However, officials say that PAF will not get control over airport offices because Greenfield facilities are not allowed to carry out two separate operations at once.
PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi visited the airport last week and said that he was displeased with the fact that there is still a lot of work left.
PCAA has committed to bringing international grade facilities to the new Islamabad International Airport – well-known food chains and retailers will have their outlets at the airport soon.