ISLAMABAD: New Islamabad International Airport is likely to become operational by the endof December this year after completion of a link road and baggage handlingsection.
According to an official source, the airport will cater to 15 million domestic and foreign passengersevery year. A new metro bus route is also being built along the Kashmir Highway for the convenience of passengers coming from Islamabad.
Earlier, the government wanted to inaugurate the airport on August 14 but the project was delayed dueto slow construction of a road leading up to the airport.
The cost of the airport, whose construction started in 2006, has escalated significantly from theinitial Rs 37 billion to a whopping Rs 100 billion.
Built over an area of 3571 acres, the airport has two runways. Further planned expansion will allow it toserve up to 25 million passengers every year.
The terminal of the airport included 15 gates with ten remote gates, a four start hotel, duty freeshops, food court and 42 immigration counters.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) plans to acquire more land around the airport for its expansion infuture.
The main features of airport infrastructure includes main and emergency runways, taxiways and apronfor parking of 28 aircraft, 15 passenger boarding bridges, cargo apron for parking of three aircraft, state apron for parking of two aircraft and aircraft maintenance apron.
Over the years, the construction work of the project was delayed due to multiple reasons andmismanagement. Poor road access and water shortages caused delay in theconstruction of the project, but the issue of water has been addressed with theconstruction of Rama and Khasana dams which will conserve rain water.
Besidesthe Civil Aviation Authority has also dug 12 wells to ensure water supply forthe airport.
According to an official of CAA,the airport has numerous allied facilities including airfieldlighting system, navigational aids, hydrant refuel system, air traffic control, radio and radar building, water works, sewerage treatment plant and a cargo complex.
Likewise, the Passenger Terminal Building had many systems installed for modem day airportoperations. The new Islamabad International Airport would be able tohandle all modern commercial aircraft including big commercial airplanes ofAirbus and Boeing.
The airport will be the first greenfield airport in Pakistan as well as the first to be capable ofhandling Airbus A380. The airport will replace the old Benazir International Airport located in the congested area of Rawalpindi.