ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to complete the construction of the new Islamabad International Airport by March 31, 2015, a year ahead of the previously set deadline.
The prime minister gave the directive during his visit to the under-construction airport at the Rawalpindi-Fateh Jang Road, some 25km from Zero Point, Islamabad, to assess the progress on the Rs 70-billion project being undertaken to cater to 15 million passengers annually.
He said the new airport must be built par excellence and should provide most modern facilities to the growing number of national and international passengers.
The prime minister directed the Civil Aviation Authority to ensure the project is completed on time and face no further delays.
He directed to ensure water supply to the airport from small dams to be built by the Punjab government.
The prime minister visited various sections of the under-construction airport including the arrival and departure lounges, immigration, customs and shopping areas at the main terminal building.
The airport will have 15 passenger boarding bridges and will eventually be able to handle 400,000MT cargo, besides 90 counters for passengers.
The prime minister was informed that 98 percent civil works and hydrant refuelling system was complete, while 55 percent work on the Air Traffic Complex was also complete.
The prime minister inquired about the reasons of delay and the cost over-runs and directed speedy investigation by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in this regard.
He directed that a dedicated power plant be installed for the airport. He said a world-class system for passenger handling should be installed and must be at par with the airports of Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi.
The prime minister was also informed that existing monitoring system was being strengthened.
Nawaz Sharif directed to fast track the completion process and called for simultaneous completion of different phases.
The project, whose groundbreaking was done in April 2007, has been designed to complete in three phases.
Being the largest airport of South Asia, it has a modular design following the concept of Changi airport of Singapore. The delta-shaped terminal can be expanded at a later stage to cater to growing number of passengers.
The existing Islamabad airport currently caters to only 100 international and domestic flights a day with around three million passengers annually. Only 19 international flights are operating from the existing airport, while many other airlines have sought permission, but it cannot be met due to limited capacity.
CAA Director General Air Marshal (r) Mohammad Yousaf Chaudhry in a presentation to the prime minister said the cargo terminal was almost complete while work on the passenger terminal was around 70 percent complete with the help of China National Construction and Frontier Works Organisation.
The new airport, besides the main runway, has constructed an emergency runway while the Civil Aviation Authority has already acquired land for the third runway.
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid, Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Tahir Rafique Butt and PM’s Adviser on Civil Aviation Shujaat Azeem accompanied the prime minister.
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