Islamabad’s new state-of-the-art airport to open on May 3

The long-awaited Islamabad International Airport (IIA) is all set to begin operations for international and domestic flights on May 3, replacing the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport in twin city of Rawalpindi. Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is expected to formally inaugurate the airport.

IIA is Pakistan’s largest international airport, designed for up to 15 million passengers annually in the first phase, and up to 25 million in future. Spread over 19 square kilometres, the new, Y-shaped airport is located 30km from the heart of Islamabad’s business centre, Blue Area. It will be Pakistan’s first airport to accommodate the double-deck Airbus A380.

The airport operations would begin with the arrival of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) PK-300 flight from Karachi and departure of PIA’s PK-785 to London.

The airport two runways, each 3.5 km long; a 28 aircraft parking apron; 15 jetties/passenger boarding bridges; 15 remote bays; a cargo apron for parking of three aircraft; main and emergency runways; taxiways; aircraft maintenance apron; and a four-level terminal building.

There will be as many as 28 escalators, six service lifts, and 24 elevators, in addition to 4 inclined and 10 horizontal travellators (moving walkways). It also features a four-star transit hotel, convention centre, duty-free shops and food court. A mini-cinema and children’s play area has also been built to help ease long layovers.

The airport boasts 90 check-in counters and a parking facility for 2,000 vehicles with nine exit and entry gates. The government plans to offer public transport to the airport soon. Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) is planning to establish a modern Tourist Information Centre at the new airport.