China assures early ground breaking of new Gwadar airport

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Sophia Siddiqui

Islamabad

On the request of Pakistan, China has assured to soon start work on new Gwadar international airport as well as East Bay Expressway.
In February 2015, Gwadar port was handed over to the Chinese Overseas Port Holding Company to make it operational. The agreement on the 40-year lease on the project includes construction of an international airport and a four-lane road on the main arterial road of Gwadar.
The Gwadar airport will cater to the needs of Gwadar deep sea port as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be an airport of international standards capable of handling the largest of passenger planes, including the A380 Boeing Jet..
Pakistan anticipates Gwadar becoming a regional economic hub and, in preparation for this, special emphasis is also being given for the development of New Gwadar International Airport, the sources said adding the move is aimed at facilitating the movement of international investors and visitors.
The CAA has earmarked 3000 acres of land 26km northeast of the existing airport. The new airport will be given international status and operate under the open skies policy. In the meantime, there are plans at the existing airport to further facilitate the movement of wide-bodied aircraft.
Pakistan has also handed hundreds of acres of land over to China for development of a special economic zone in the port of Gwadar, part of a $46 billion project giving Beijing greater access to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
The provincial government handed over about 2,300 acres swathe of tax-exempt land that Beijing will develop under a 43-year lease.