Islamabad: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the New Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday. The first incoming flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from Karachi landed at the new airport at 11am, while the first flight of the national airline will depart for Karachi at 12.30pm. PK-300, which landed in the capital, was captained by Farrukh Mirza. The prime minister was accompanied by the governors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, Adviser Civil Aviation Sardar Mehtab and the Mayor Islamabad.
According to a PIA spokesperson, the airline’s president and CEO welcomed the flight on its arrival alongside the premier. The airline also shared the momentous occasion in a tweet prior to take off. All set and ready to take off!! Passengers have boarded and also received memorabilia on this historic first flight to land at the New Islamabad International Airport.
The facility will become fully operational from May 3 onwards with all flight operations shifting there from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. The newly-constructed airport spans over an area of 4238 acres of land and is said to be country’s first greenfield airport. The new airport, which is designed as “Y” shape, includes 15 passenger boarding bridges, a passenger-friendly terminal, two runways, three taxiways along with facilities to accommodate two double-deck A380, as many as 15 remote bays and seven remote bays for small aircraft.
A cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, an oil depot and fire and rescue services are also part of the new facility. The airport has a modular design which enables it to handle nine million passengers and 50,000 metric tons of cargo initially. The new airport is located 30 km away from the central Islamabad, for which the construction work started in April 2007
Earlier on April 7, the first mock flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had landed at the New Islamabad International Airport. PK-9001 had departed from Benazir International Airport at 1:00pm and landed at the new airport around 1:30pm.
The flight had been scheduled to take off at 12:30pm but was delayed as the boarding process of some PIA pilots and their families, who were aboard the flight, took longer than expected. PIA Chief Executive Officer Musharraf Rasool had also observed the mock exercise.