Islamabad: Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday inaugurated the newly-built Islamabad International Airport with the landing of the first commercial flight.
According to a Civil Aviation Authority official, the first domestic commercial flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) that took off from Karachi landed at the new airport at 11 a.m. Later on, another flight of the PIA departed from the new airport for Karachi at 12.30 p.m, the Pakistani media reported.
The complete operations of the new airport will commence on Thursday. It is located 20 km from Zero Point Islamabad and over 25 km from Saddar, Rawalpindi, and is set to be the largest airport in the country, designed to facilitate 15 million passengers annually in the first phase, which will increase to 25 million after its expansion.
All commercial and VIP flights from Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) will be moved to the new airport, Dawn online reported.
The Prime Minister, several ministers, officers from the armed forces and staff of the airlines welcomed the passengers of the first flight that landed at the new airport.
Abbasi said: “The new Islamabad airport is located at the crossroad of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and it will open a new gateway for the country’s development.”
He said that the new airport will give a direction to other airports in the country in up-gradation to provide quality services to passengers.
The Y-shaped new airport spreads over 19 square km with 15 jetties, including facilities to accommodate two double-deck A380, the world’s largest airplane, among others. It is Pakistan’s first-ever greenfield airport, has two runways, each 3.5 km long, three taxiways and a cargo apron which can accommodate large and small aircraft.
The modern airport has a 50-bed hospital, a golf course, three shopping malls, a cinema, a convention centre, duty-free shops and restaurants and other leisure or recreational facilities.