ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad international airport will soon have a new look with a more protected building having a blast-proof concrete wall on its face and a spacious car parking, besides other facilities.
A senior official of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told Dawn that 2.7 international and 1.5 million domestic passengers use the airport annually.
He said the new Islamabad international airport will take some two years to become fully operational.
But even after its completion the existing airport will be used by VVIP, domestic flights and Pakistan air force.
“This is what warranted the long overdue upgradation of the airport as some facilities have been missing for years,” he remarked.
A number of facilities are being added to the airport
The renovation work costing Rs380 million has been awarded to the National Logistics Cell (NLC), which is working at a high pace to complete the project by the end of the current month.
A key component of the project is construction of a 1700 X 75 feet taxi way link adjacent to the lone runway of the airport.
He said the link will help save some nine million dollars per annum as it will reduce the waiting time of the aircraft ready for take-off and landing.
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Abdul Shakoor Tahir, Assistant Manager (architecture), CAA said a spacious 93,500 square feet piece of land adjacent to existing car parking had been obtained on lease from Pakistan Army for two years.
A separate car parking lot will be constructed on this land for the employees of the CAA, PIA and other relevant people. It will a capacity to accommodate more than 300 vehicles.
He said some improvements had also been made in the existing parking lot which would now have the car parking capacity for 650 vehicles.
Previously, the parking lot had space for only 250 cars.
The project director retired Lt-Col Mohammad Sohail Miski said since limited funds were available with the CAA and only Rs200 million had been released, the NLC had invested Rs100 million to ensure completion of the project without any break.
He said some changes had been made in the existing parking lot to make it spacious. The overhead high tension wires had been removed and old drainage and sewerage system replaced.
He said pavements had been constructed and unnecessary poles removed.
The recent incidents of attack on Peshawar Airport and fog in Lahore is adding another 15-20 flights every day, adding extraordinary burden on the capital’s only airport initially built as an Air Force facility decades back and later part of it was turned into a commercial airport.
“More than 12,000 passengers use this airport each day. In addition, we get 35,000 to 45,000 visitors who come to see off or receive passengers,” he said adding that this load was much more than Allama Iqbal International Airport at Lahore, the country’s second largest city.
“The load at this airport is much more than Lahore. But facilities at this airport is not even one third of Lahore,” he noted.
Designed by a renowned Karachi based architect Arshad Shahid Abdullah, a new fast track building with three drop lanes is near completion.
Each lane will have capacity of five cars at a time.
The new building will also accommodate offices of CAA and few top food chain outlets.
Another official of the CAA said the international departure lounge was also being made more organised and the number of check-in counters was being raised from 20 to 25.
A number of toilets of international standard are also being built in the parking area and airport building.
Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2015