New airport for Islamabad: Inquiry blames CAA for delay in airport project

Findings by ministry of defence submitted before SC bench.

Our Correspondent July 10, 2013
Findings by ministry of defence submitted before SC bench. PHOTO: FILE


Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), its consultants and contractors have been held responsible for the delays in completion of the New (NBBIA) and increase in the project cost according to an inquiry, the Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday.

Previously known as New Islamabad International Airport, the project conceived in 1986 for construction of an airport at Fateh Jang to mitigate rush at Islamabad airport, was renamed NBBIA in 2008.

The findings of the inquiry conducted by Lt Gen (retd) Shahid Niaz under the directions of the ministry of defence were submitted before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The bench was hearing a petition against the delay in the NBBIA project and appointment of an unqualified person as director general CAA.

“Arbitrary decisions taken by CAA at various stages of the project have led to cost escalation and also indirectly affected the scheduled working of the overall design process. This has further delayed the process of award of contracts and implementation of work. Various committees, oversight bodies constituted at different stages gave recommendations for major changes in the scope of the project, which were then approved by CAA Board,” the report read.

Advocate Fasihuddin Khan Vardag in his petition has challenged the appointment of retired air marshal Khalid Chaudhry as DG CAA and claimed that the delay had escalated the cost of the project from Rs35 billion to Rs73 billion.

The inquiry report prepared in January 2013 further notes that Planning and Development Department of CAA was unable to deliver due to lack of expertise for handling a project of this magnitude.

“The CAA board was forced to take decision at different stages of the project implementation on the basis of inaccurate assessments,” the report reads in the concluding paragraphs.

The bench, also comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed, issued notices to Attorney General of Pakistan Muneer A Malik to explain the method and procedure for appointment of Khalid Chaudhry as DG CAA.

Earlier responding to a court query DG CAA said he was asked to join the office by the government and he never applied for the post.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2013.


Hisham | 9 years ago | Reply

The anticipated new airport has been anticipated for several decades now. I think at the rate we're going, it will be probably be ready for my Grandchildren to witness the opening of this facility.

As for the name, what a joke!...cant we just go with something neutral, New Islamabad Airport would best suited.

Rizwan | 9 years ago | Reply

I can't believe we're still calling it "New Benazir Bhutto" International Airport.

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