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Thursday April 18, 2024

Gwadar airport's inauguration 'soon'

Government likely to inaugurate flight operations at airport on Pakistan Day (March 23), say sources

By Tariq Abul Hasan
March 09, 2023
A model of the Gwadar International Airport. — Photo by author
A model of the Gwadar International Airport. — Photo by author

KARACHI: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will inaugurate the Gwadar International Airport later this month, sources told Geo News on Thursday, which is expected to help the coastal city attract more local and foreign investors.

The sources said that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has completed the safety check of the airport and declared it clear and fully prepared for flight operations.

The government is likely to inaugurate flight operations at the airport on Pakistan Day (March 23), they added.

The airport is located in Gurandani, which is 26km east of Gwadar city. Financing of the project was done through the Chinese government's grant under the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and its cost was estimated at $230 million.

According to the CPEC website, the airport's construction created 3,000 jobs. The groundbreaking ceremony of the airport was held on March 29, 2019, by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan — who was the prime minister at the time.

Implementation of the project was handed over to the Aviation Division.

Meanwhile, its construction work began on October 31, 2019. As per the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor website, the expected completion date of the project was March 2023.

"Construction of New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), along with allied facilities for a new airport that will be capable of handling a combination of ATR 72, Airbus, (A-300), Boeing (B-737), and Boeing (B-747) for domestic as well international routes," the web portal mentions regarding the much-anticipated facility.

Earlier today, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal chaired a review meeting on the “Test flight at the new Gwadar International Airport” in Islamabad.

According to a tweet by the ministry, the meeting discussed progress on projects including CAA Complex, landslide infrastructure, cargo building, Airports Security Force (ASF) Camp for 1,050 Personnel, and 132kV grid station.

The federal minister also instructed CAA to complete all development projects before September 2023 for the airport. He also asked the authority to present a plan of action within three days for execution and implementation of the remaining tasks.

Meanwhile, the prime minister — during a presser last month — said that the Gwadar port began functioning with dredging being operational and wheat being shipped from there.