ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad International Airport is no stranger to controversy.
The long-delayed project in Pakistan’s capital city has now been given another official deadline and will now be operational from August14, 2017, revealed officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) during a briefing to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday.
The former official deadline for completion of the project was December, 2016. However, CAA officials have long stated that this deadline was unlikely to be met.
Construction of the new Islamabad airport started more than a decade ago amid incessant delays, which has caused escalation of the initially estimated cost.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also briefed on the status and progress of work on airports in different parts of the country including Bannu and Mansehra.
The CAA officials informed that almost 82% work on the new Islamabad International Airport has been completed and efforts are being made to complete the project within the allocated financial resources.
The project is divided into three main components of airside, passenger terminal as well as landside.
“The Prime Minister was apprised that the new Islamabad International Airport will be operational on August 14 next year,” said the official statement issued after the meeting.
The meeting was informed about the peripheral facilities including link roads, water facilities, provision of natural gas, electricity as well as commuting facilities for the new Islamabad International Airport.
Rama Dam and Kasana Dam will supply water for the new airport and will be completed soon, the Prime Minister was briefed.
The Prime Minister expressed hope that the new Islamabad International Airport will be an icon of professional excellence. He directed officials in charged to ensure that all the international standards are strictly followed while executing the project.
“I am sure that the new Islamabad International Airport will be a regional hub of air passengers and travelers,” the Prime Minister said.
Sharif instructed officials to connect the Islamabad/Rawalpindi metro to the new airport to facilitate the city residents.
The meeting also discussed the extension of the Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore. The Prime Minister was briefed on different state of the art designs proposed for the extension which are of global standards. The proposed designs are a blend of the Spanish and Mughal architecture having modern touch, said the statement. The Prime Minister, while approving the proposed designs, directed to start work on the extension of the Lahore airport.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2016.