Absurd scheme: New airport

Updated Aug 31, 2013 07:06am

THE PML-N has been crying hoarse about the financial crisis facing the country and the need for austerity since its arrival on Constitution Avenue. Hence, its suggestion for a third airport for the capital when the second one is still not operational appears incomprehensible. Islamabad needs a new airport. The existing shabby premises are outdated and consist of a small building where buses are still used to transport passengers to the aircraft; meanwhile, the parking lot is always overflowing and passengers have to battle their way through the mess called immigration and customs. But one new airport — already delayed and ridiculously over budget — should be enough. More importantly, only once it is complete and running, can a firm conclusion be drawn as to whether or not another airport is needed. And if there is a design fault with the new airport, as has been claimed, why cannot it be fixed? Perhaps it is to get the answers to some of these questions that the opposition has filed a notice in parliament.

At present, with this government’s penchant for providing little information as it goes about running the country, it can only be assumed that the prime minister’s proposal stems from his and from the Punjab chief minister’s obsession with grand ‘development’ projects. The story that originally reported this proposal added that the prime minister also spoke of building a road such as the Shaikh Zayed Road, the main artery running through Dubai. This road would connect the airport to Islamabad and, like its Dubai counterpart, would have high-rise buildings on both sides. Once again there were few details of how this high-rise paradise would be achieved — the PML-N excels at grandiose dreams of the symbols of economic success but tends to fall short of achieving them. The government would be well advised to wait for some hard facts and figures on the need for this ‘third airport’ before beginning work on what at the moment sounds like a hare-brained scheme.

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Comments (6) (Closed)

Aug 31, 2013 07:51am

Why not build a FOURTH ONE simultaneously to make a more rapid "PROGRESS"?

Shaffiq Mahmood
Aug 31, 2013 03:55pm

Maybe it will be a VIP airport for the Sharifs

Aug 31, 2013 09:21pm

There is nothing wrong with planning another airport for Islamabad. Most capitals in the world have two or more quality airports. Cities such as Rawalpindi and Islamabad were neglected by previous governments. It is only fair that the focus should now be on these twin cities and the surrounding towns for development.

Sep 01, 2013 10:24am

Why absurd? What’s wrong with having a third airport? World capitals do have more than two, even three airports. Looking at the future requirement, say next twenty five years or so, with our leaping population growth, the existing airport would hardly meet the future air traffic requirement. The existing airport at Chaklala could be used for domestic and Hajj purpose, the under construction airport at Fateh Jang road could be used by the defense forces, and the proposed airport at Rawat could be utilized for exclusively international operation.

As regard financing of the proposed airport at Rawat; according to reports funds would be generated by disposing of the prime land along the Islamabad Expressway, from Faizabad Chowk to Karal Chowk or even further up to Rawat, Multi storied commercial plazas and modern apartments could be located in this area looking to the future needs of Islamabad with ever expanding population, and Capital Development Authority being unable to cater to the ever increasing demand. Presently both sides of the expressway give a very shabby and ugly look, with garbage dumps, water logged ponds and un -planned construction beside cattle pens, encroachments on government property by jugis dwellers, un-authorized grave yards and mushroom growth of ill planned houses.

With construction activity both along the expressway and at the proposed new airport, much needed economic activity will take place, which in turn will not only activate the related business but also provide employment opportunity to the working class.

As regard completion of seventy percent work on the under construction airport at Fateh Jang road, it is understood that it only pertains to the runways; what about the terminal buildings and other paraphernalia especially water supply, which it is believed is scarce in the area. The construction and widening of signal free roads to the town centre are still to be undertaken, involving bridges, underpasses and interchange that will not only require additional funds but would also take considerable time and labour,whereas the road from Rawat to city centre would involve half the budget as lesser civil work is needed. So why present a pessimist approach to the proposed new venture.

Sep 01, 2013 11:51am

Is there any sensible person in the administration?

Sep 01, 2013 06:43pm

more money you bring from IMF, more commision you get from IMF. I believe, one might get a cut from interest till he dies.