Lahore : The operationalization of new Islamabad international airport has been rescheduled to May 3 with an aim to do more tests and trials for improving reliability and efficiency of systems, Deputy Director General of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Amir Mehboob said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a news conference here at the new airport, he said the new date of operationalization was given after Adviser to the Prime Minister on Civil Aviation Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan visited the airport on Wednesday morning.
The airport was earlier scheduled to be inaugurated on April 20.
Amir Mehboob said the Adviser had expressed satisfaction at the overall preparedness for operationalization, however, he asked for further testing and conducting trial of modern equipment installed at the airport so as to bring it to the level of international standards. “Now we have got some more days to do further tests and trials,” he added.
He said, “The airport, which has been built on 4,238 acres of land, consists of four level passenger terminal buildings, two runways, taxiways, an apron, and parking bays for wide-body aircraft. There is a cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, fuel farm as well as a fire crash and rescue facility.”
Amir Mehboob said the new airport was equipped to handle all types of aircraft, including the new generation.
He said the airport, which had been built at a cost of over Rs 100 billion, would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
Amir Mehboob said the Islamabad Metro Bus project was also being expanded to connect the airport.
To a question, he said transport authorities in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad had decided to start a shuttle service with the cooperation of a private company, Faisal Movers, to ferry passengers from the different locations to the airport.
Being the first greenfield airport of the country, a significant portion of its land had been earmarked for commercial purposes such as duty-free shops, a five-star hotel, a convention centre, branded coffee shops, business centre, food courts, multifunctional shopping mall, theme park, cinemas, golf course and recreational facilities, he added.
He said it took 11 years to build the new Islamabad airport after the groundbreaking in April, 2007. “The four level passenger terminal building is 190,370 square meters, specifically designed to facilitate passengers and stakeholders. It is completely high-tech and fully computerized with integrated systems of international standards,” he said.
Sharing further details, he said the airport was spread over 4,238 acres of land. Spreading on 282 acres, Ramma Dam had been built inside the airport to cater the water needs, while work on Kasana Dam, spreading over 667 acres, was in progress for future requirements.
He said the new airport had two runways, the one was primary and the second was secondary. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) was in the process of acquiring 2,833 acres of land for the third runway for future extension. In addition, the airport had facilities such as taxiways, including six taxi links, three rapid taxi ways and five aprons, he added.
Amir Mehboob said the new airport had Integrated Building Management System, which was designed to keep track and control of various systems in the passenger terminal building. The Integrated Aircraft Stand System installed at the airport would allow airport operators to monitor the use of equipment and the apron from a single source, he added.
He said the new airport was equipped with fire alarm system, sprinkler system, total gas flooding system, smoke ventilation system, fire house cabinets and fire telephone systems. “The baggage handling system installed at the airport is the advanced baggage handling system in Pakistan with standard two and three screening machines with capacity to handle 5,500 bags per hour in departure and 6,000 bags per hour in arrival lounge,” he added
The CAA Deputy DG said the airport operations control centre was a state-of-the-art command, coordination and control centre, which focused on end-to-end processes of operations, bringing together three major operational areas for departure and arrival passengers, baggage and aircraft.
Amir Mehboob said the airport would become the country’s hub that would boost business and economy. He said the successful completion of the airport reflected the ability of CAA to build a world-class airport that had become the pride of the country.