ISLAMABAD: Federal Secretary Defence Lt Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik has said the new Benazir Bhutto International Airport will start functioning in June, 2014.
This he said while talking to this correspondent at his Defence Ministry’s office in Rawalpindi.
Asif Yasin, who is also head of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and PIA, stated that it is untrue that the federal government has released an amount of Rs100 billion for PIA. He clarified that the PIA requires Rs12 billions plus 46 million dollars bank guarantee which is still not provided to the national carrier.
He said the CAA has submitted a report to the Ministry of Defence regarding completion of the new BB International Airport. According to this report, he said, the 95% runway and taxiway tracks, 83% aprons, 72% airfield lighting system, 52% ATC complex, FCR & RR bldg, 95% hydrant refuelling system, 55% road network, 80% cargo complex and 60% boundary wall/fencing /watch towers have been completed.
The secretary defence after the field visit has shown satisfaction on the overall progress and pace of development. However, he directed the management to adhere to the timelines strictly, ensure quality, speed and transparency. He further emphasised the need to complete the peripheral work like approach roads, power and water supply in consonance with the schedule of development of the project. He directed to convene a meeting of stakeholders at the Ministry of Defence to review the progress of peripheral work.
The groundbreaking of the airport, spread over about 3,600 acres, was performed in April, 2007. It is located near Fateh Jang, 20 kilometres from Islamabad’s Zero Point. The new airport will be a modern, well-designed and state-of-the-art airport of Pakistan.
In the designing phase, the CAA hired a French company APDI, Airport De Paris with the local consultant i.e. Nespak for infrastructure design of all the facilities except terminal building for the designing of terminal building. Another company CPG, which is a Singapore-based company, was given the task of consultancy. The CAA had consulted all the stakeholders including airlines, ground handling agencies, Customs, Immigration and Airport Security Force etc and took suggestions from all of them to facilitate the passengers in the best possible way. The airport will have capacity to cater for 9 million passengers per annum in the initial stage.
The new BB Airport will have a parking lot for 2,000 cars, it will also have a covered car parking area, huge space for commercial purposes, covered departure level bridge, separate roads for VIP lounges, etc. It will be the first airport of Pakistan which can land and park Airbus A-380, most wide bodied aeroplane in the world. It has two runways, the main runway is category F runway, which is the highest category for runways. It has the ability to carry the largest and heaviest aircraft. The other runway, which is declared as an emergency runway, is category E runway. CAA also designed a third runway on the other side of the building. When completed, this will cater for simultaneous operations for landing and takeoffs. At the moment two runways are being constructed.