There has been plenty of criticism as far as new Islamabad airport is concerned. There have been unfulfilled promises and never-achieved deadlines. The project is constantly delayed and the cost of the project is exceedingly high. However, the new airport in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, will be operational within a year, according to the Secretary Aviation Division, Irfan Elahi.

The idea to initiate the new airport at the capital city of Pakistan was first conceived in 1984. The purchase of land was also started in the very same year near Fatehjang. The land was purchased from Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 500,000/- per kanal depending upon the location. However, the average price per of the land was bought for Rs. 50,000/- per kanal.

On Wednesday while briefing the members of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat, Irfan Elahi stated that all access roads to the new airport will be completed during the current year and that the flight operations will start by 30th June, 2017 – exactly after one year.

The project was started back in 2004 and the foundation stone of the airport was laid by the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shaukat Aziz. The construction work was originated without the design of the project being approved and it pertinent to mention that 17 different contractors were awarded the project.

It is projected that around Rs. 100 billion will be spent on the completion of the airport. The current Benzair Bhutto International Airport in the twin cities currently tailors the need of 3 million people in a year. Current airport has got space for 400 parking vehicles while there are 20 check-in counters.

It is estimated that around 9 million people will be catered in a year. Moreover, the new Islamabad airport will have 90 check-in counters and there would be ample space for around 2000 vehicles to be parked.

Chairman of the committee, Rana Muhammed Hayat Khan, said the completion of the new airport should be on time. He stated that:

“The cost of the project has also increased due to various reasons and we cannot afford further delays”

Rana Muhammed further added that the quality work in the construction work should not be compromised and it would be extremely important to maintain the quality since the new airport is in the capital of Pakistan and the quality of the airport will reflect the image of Pakistan.

During the meeting, questions were also raised about two runways that might be used simultaneously for landing and take-off to which an official from Civil Aviation Authority replied that the second runway was created just for another option. He answered:

“Sometimes, a runway cannot be used due to problems such leaked fuel on the runway. So instead of stopping flight operations, the second runway will be used should those circumstances present”

There is still some time for the operations to get underway – one year to be precise. It can be fairly said that once the new Islamabad airport will have its operation started, it will arguably be the best airport of Pakistan.

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