With 'blast-proof' wall and new lounge, Islamabad Airport gets much-awaited upgrade

Published May 18, 2015
According to CAA officials, a number of missing facilities have been added to the airport during the refurbishment process, which took about nine months to complete. — Online/file
According to CAA officials, a number of missing facilities have been added to the airport during the refurbishment process, which took about nine months to complete. — Online/file

ISLAMABAD: Nine months and Rs450 million later, Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport has got its much-awaited facelift which includes what officials say is a "blast-proof wall", revamped business lounge and a new taxiway link.

A key component of the project was the construction of a 1,700 feet x 75 feet taxiway link, adjacent to the lone runway which will help to save over Rs1 billion per annum by reducing waiting time for aircraft that are ready to land or take-off. It is estimate that the new feature will save Rs120 million per month for airlines.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) officials, a number of missing facilities have been added to the airport during the refurbishment process.

A view of Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport after renovation.— Photo Courtesy: Radio Pakistan
A view of Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport after renovation.— Photo Courtesy: Radio Pakistan
A view of  Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport before the upgrade.  — Irfan Haider
A view of Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport before the upgrade. — Irfan Haider

The Rawal Lounge has now been renamed Business Class Lounge and given a fresh look, while its old installations have been replaced with sleek, contemporary furniture for better utilisation of space. The lounge also has Wi-Fi access with high-speed internet.

Read: Islamabad airport worst in the world: survey

The concourse hall, where airline offices and food stalls left little space for passengers and those who came to see-off or receive them, has now been cleared of stalls and all airline offices have been centralised.

A blast-proof concrete wall has been built in front of the main terminal to separate it from the car park to make the airport more secure, while a 'fast-track section' has been constructed near the outer gate to allow passengers with light baggage to enter and leave the airport without hassle.

A separate car park for the the CAA, airport and other employees working on the airport premises has also been built on a piece of land acquired on lease from the military.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated the upgraded facilities at Benazir Bhutto International Airport in the federal capital city on Monday (today).

Although the inauguration of the new facilities took place today, a new airport in the capital is due to be opened to the public next year.

Also read: New Islamabad airport to be operational in 2016, NA body told

Earlier in March, the Aviation Division informed the National Assembly standing committee on planning, development and reforms that 80 per cent work on the New Islamabad Airport is complete and the facility would be operational in the last quarter of 2016.

Secretary Aviation Division Mohammad Ali Gardezi told the committee that the cost of the project had increased from Rs37 billion to Rs81 billion.

It might go up further due to the devaluation of the rupee and the price hikes, he had said. Rs40 billion had already been spent on the project till March, he had further said.

A senior official of the CAA told Dawn.com that the existing airport will be used by VVIP and domestic flights and the Pakistan Air Force while the new airport will be reserved for general public.

Read more: Islamabad airport all set for a makeover

Last year, a survey conducted by "The Guide to Sleeping in Airports" website shows Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport as the world's worst airport.

The survey also added that the airport, often "likened to a central prison", can be aggressive yet inconsistent in its security checks and crowd control is often minimal if not entirely absent.

Opinion

Sub judice rule
18 Sep 2021

Sub judice rule

It is time this objection, sub judice, is laid to rest.
The Black Caps folly
Updated 18 Sep 2021

The Black Caps folly

There is so much wrong — and worrying — about the entire sorry episode of New Zealand backing out of Pakistan tour.
CT NAP revisited
Updated 18 Sep 2021

CT NAP revisited

A policy of appeasement towards extremists has undermined the state’s writ.
Pathways for reform
Updated 17 Sep 2021

Pathways for reform

Even now the government has said they are listening, but they have not said how they are listening.

Editorial

Blinken’s remarks
Updated 18 Sep 2021

Blinken’s remarks

The US establishment cannot scapegoat Pakistan for two decades of bad policy in Afghanistan.
18 Sep 2021

Worrying survey

THE findings of the Labour Force Survey 2018-19 indicate that some important headline trends have already taken or...
18 Sep 2021

Special needs

THE fact that only 3,653 children with special needs, out of some 300,000 in Sindh, are registered with the...
TTP amnesty?
Updated 17 Sep 2021

TTP amnesty?

An amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit.
17 Sep 2021

Media regulation

THE needless controversy over media regulation may finally be heading for a resolution. In a meeting with ...
17 Sep 2021

Refusing audit

THE continuous resistance put up by several public-sector organisations to submitting their accounts for audit by ...