IIA becomes operational

The newly constructed Islamabad International Airport (IIA) became operational with the landing and handling of the first flight while complete operation would begin today (Thursday). This marked completion of a project that saw many hiccups during its long journey that led to huge cost escalations and inordinate delays caused by non-professional planning and execution.
Islamabad should have a modern airport with necessary facilities to cater to 21st century needs of a flourishing capital but unfortunately its construction took decades. The credit again goes to the PML (N) government, which ensured that the snags are cleared and the project is accomplished before end of its tenure. This is yet another manifestation that while others just indulged in rhetoric and corruption, the incumbent government delivered as far as completion of landmark projects like Islamabad Airport and Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project are concerned. The two projects had similar history and incidentally they suffered from identical lacunae including non-existence of transmission lines from NJ and linking of the new airport with the Federal Capital through a quality road to facilitate travellers. Mian Nawaz Sharif realised these vital needs and gave instructions for completion of these two important ancillary projects. The Y-shaped airport is located 20 kilometres from Zero Point Islamabad and over 25km from Saddar, Rawalpindi, and is set to be the largest airport in the country, designed to facilitate 15m passengers annually in the first phase, which will increase to 25m after its expansion. It has a passenger friendly terminal, two runways, three taxiways and a cargo apron which can accommodate large and small aircrafts. It is hoped that the new airport would cater to the growing demands of this region and provide a pleasant experience to travellers, who will now have to cover a comparatively longer distance to reach their destination as against the time consumed from the old airport. It is also set to become a commercial hub because of cargo facility while dozens of housing schemes have already cropped up in the area. There should be proper check on these societies and other developmental activities so that the new airport doesn’t face congestion around it like the old airport faced.

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