ISLAMABAD: The new Islamabad International Airport will be fully operational by June 2017, official sources said on Sunday.
All construction work of the project is scheduled to be completed by December 25 this year. Official sources stated that after the completion of all awarded packages, about six to eight months will be required for testing and operationalisation of the airport.
The federal government has allocated three billion rupees under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2016-2017 for construction of the road network of NIIA. The National Highway Authority (NHA) has also started work on roads leading to the new airport.
The first-ever green-field airport is being constructed near Fateh Jang, some 20 kilometres from the centre of the federal capital, and 23 kilometres from Rawalpindi, and just a few kilometres from the Islamabad interchange on the M1/M2 motorways.
The airport will be equipped with cutting-edge technologies and state-of-the-art facilities for passengers to meet 21st century challenges.
The much delayed mega project, having an area of 3,289 acres, is being built to replace the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport. The inordinate delay occurred in the completion of the project due to land acquisition process, frequently changing directors, cancellation and revival of contracts with international companies, lack of easy access to road for shifting heavy machinery and absence of water and electricity resources in the area.
According to a senior official of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the latest landing system would allow planes to land in harsh weather conditions. With the help of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco), the NIIA has established its own grid station for power supply.
The airport, once completed, will have 90 check-in counters and a parking facility for 2,000 vehicles, a control tower, maintenance hangar, a 15-gate terminal with ten remote gates, a four-star hotel, a convention centre, duty-free shops, food court, two-runways, six taxiways, five aprons, 15 passenger boarding bridges, runway lightening system, 150KMT cargo handling facility, and 42 immigration counters.
The new airport will also feature the highest baggage security system in the country that is five levels of security screening process for luggage.
More than 10,000 saplings have been planted in the airport area to make the atmosphere healthy and green. The airport is also likely to create massive job opportunities and other commercial activities in the area.