RAWALPINDI: Pakistan International Airline (PIA) is all set to operate a first mock flight from the New Islamabad International Airport on Saturday.
However, the airport will be inaugurated formally on April 20 for regular international and domestic flights. The old Benazir Bhutto International Airport will be transferred to the new airport between April 19 and April 20.
The “Y” shaped new airport spreads over 19 square kilometres with 15 jetties (passenger boarding bridges), including facilities to accommodate two double-deck A380, the world’s largest airplane, 15 remote bays and seven remote bays for small aircraft such as ATRs. It will be the biggest international airport of the country in terms of landing and passenger handling facilities.
For the 15 bays, the same number of lounges have been built to avoid mixing of passengers. The new airport has two runways each 3.5 km long.
Families of PIA employees invited to go through a mock check-in procedure before formal opening of airport on 20th
The PIA management has decided to conduct the mock exercise of landing a passenger plane and handling the passengers check-in by its staff, crew members, customs, Airport Security Force, Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) and other relevant agencies.
The construction work on the new airport located 30 km from Islamabad started in April 2007.
On Saturday, a PIA flight will land at the new airport and nearly 250 family members of PIA employees will come to the airport as passengers of the mock flight. They will pass through the security check, baggage scanning by ASF and search by the ANF and then proceed to the customs counters before getting boarding cards.
Wheelchairs will be arranged for disabled and sick passengers who will be boarded on the plane by ambo-lifters.
The employees’ families have been issued special passes and directed to reach the airport by 8:45am. Those who will be using their private cars will be issued special passes while the others will be taken to the lounges by the PIA employees.
PIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Musharraf Rasool Cyan will observe the mock exercise.
The new airport will have five level security systems for baggage check, a food court, mini-cinema, children’s play area and car parking for 2,200 to 2,500 vehicles. Besides the public car parking, a separate car parking has been built for the airport staff.
Five conveyer belts for international arrival lounge and three for domestic arrival lounge have been erected to facilitate the passengers. Passenger lounges are decorated with truck art works.
In its earlier plan, the airport was to have nine bays for parking of aircraft but later the number was increased to 15.
The airport also has the provision of extension, if required.
Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2018