The new Islamabad International Airport has turned out to be the most controversial, over-budget, and delayed project in recent history. However, there is no denying that it is laced with state-of-the-art technology and has unparalleled passenger capacity in Pakistan.
The airport will also be able to land world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, which can only be handled by a few dozen airports around the world.
Initially, A380’s landing was a doubt, however, a senior official of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Syed Aftab Gilani says that the airport’s runways are large enough to accommodate the largest passenger plane.
The Airport’s Capacity
Currently, the airport has enough capacity to handle 9 million passengers a year. It does have the capability to cater 25 million passengers per annum upon expansion as well.
The new airport has two runways and three rapid exit taxiways which will make A380’s landing and takeoff easier and without any delays. In case of an emergency on the main runway, the secondary runway will be used which can handle planes as large as the Boeing B777.
Benazir Bhutto International Airport had just one runway which made landing of large aircraft difficult. It also contributed to flight delays and extra fuel consumption.
The New Airport
According to Aftab Gilani, the airport is equipped with following facilities and technologies;
- LED airfield lighting system for better vision at night.
- The airport has South East Asia’s third Instrument Landing System (ILS) Category 3. Before this, only Lahore Airport and Delhi Airport had ILS in the region. ILS gives a 50-meter visibility even during thick foggy weather.
- A total of 5 aprons including one for parking three cargo planes.
- The check-in counters have been upgraded as well. The new airport has 70 international while 32 domestic check-in counters as compared to 25 and 20 counters of Benazir Airport.
- The baggage handling system comes with three baggage scan lines in line with international standards as well.
- Baggage belts process 6,000 bags per hour upon international arrival while 5,500 bags per hour on international departure.
- 33 aircraft stands as compared to the 11 in the old airport. The new airport also has 15 bays with top-notch boarding bridges.
- The airport has state-of-the-art radar system as well. Primary radar has a surveillance range of up to 100 nautical miles while the second one goes as wide as 250 nautical miles.
- Two fire stations with latest firefighting equipment and trucks. The stations have five vehicles in total with 1000 kg foam and 32,300 liters of water capacity.
Apart from that, 84,365 square-meter area has been allocated for Maintenance Repair Overhaul (MRO) program.
Parking at the Aiport
The new Islamabad International Airport has enough parking space to cater 2,200 vehicles. The parking space got a serious upgrade as well from the Benzair Airport which had 600 car parking positions in total. The parking has nine entry and exit points in total.
The new airport is expected to be inaugurated on May 3rd. Initially the inauguration date was set for April 20, however, it was delayed due to unknown reasons.