Pakistan PM inaugurates long-delayed new airport in capital Islamabad

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A Pakistan International Airlines pilot waved a green and white Pakistani flag out of his cockpit window after landing the carrier's first commercial flight at the New International Islamabad Airport.

The complete operation will commence from Thursday (May 3).

PK-300, which landed in the capital, was captained by Farrukh Mirza.

The plan to construct a new airport in Islamabad had been conceived just under 40 years ago in 1980 but work on the international-standard greenfield airport hit a number of snags and delays over the years.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the premier said that he hoped the new airport was a source of development for the area and helps in bringing trade and employment opportunities for the people of the region.

PIA's passenger handling service team and other operational staff have been deputed at the new airport to facilitate the passengers on May 1.

New Islamabad International Airport is being inaugurated today with a capacity of nine million passengers annually.

Prime Minister said aviation is a dynamic field and if we do not adapt ourselves with the latest trends, we will be left behind.

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The "Y" shaped new airport spreads over 19 square kilometers 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. He said we have adopted open sky policy to give more choices to passengers.

Abbasi lauded the efforts of his adviser Sardar Mehtab Khan and Aviation Secretary Irfan Illahi and other officials for completing the project.

A C-130 flight with passengers and luggage on board had landed at the newly constructed runway on Friday to assess its instrument landing pattern and the quality of the landing strip.

The four-level terminal building also includes a cargo terminal, fuel farm, state-of-the-art firefighting station and rescue facilities.

ASF Director General Major General Ali Abbas Haider visited the new airport and inspected the security arrangements and issued directives to further strengthen them.

Spanning over 4,238 acres of land, the new airport consists of two runways each 3.5km long, 28 aircraft parking aprons, 15 remote bays, a cargo apron for parking of three aircraft, main and emergency runways, taxiways, aircraft maintenance apron and parking bays for wide-body aircraft, Gulf News reported.

The airport is connected to the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.

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