Jan 30 - Feb 5, 20

Benazir Bhutto International Airport, the country's first green field airport, coming up fast on ground in Islamabad, will be an addition to aviation facilities in Pakistan.

This was briefed to Nargis Sethi, Chairperson of Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), when she visited CAA head quarters last week in Karachi to review the working of the country's aviation authority after assuming her responsibility as Secretary Defense recently.

She was also briefed about the under development mega projects of the CAA like the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIAP) in Islamabad. Construction work of BBIAP is being carried out in full pace and it will play a major roll not only in the national but also international aviation sector after completion.

The development work under up-gradation plan of the existing infrastructure at the Multan International Airport for B-747/B-777 operation is going on modern line to support the 21st century aircraft technology and meet operational requirements of next 15-20 years.

The BBIAP airport will be a state of the art airport capable of handing A-380 operation with modular facilities for both domestic and international passengers and cargo for which respective annual handling capacities will gradually grow from 6.5 million passengers and 100,00 metric tons cargo to 25 million passengers and 150,000 metric tons cargo, respectively, at par with international standards and shall serve as a major hub for all aviation activities in the region.

At present, the Multan Airport facilitates B-737 and ATR 500 aircrafts. The airport is almost landlocked in the East and South surrounded by structure habitations. The facilities including Terminal Building in use are inadequate. CAA has, therefore, planned up-gradation of the existing infrastructure.

The government has accorded approval for the establishment of New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) in Balochistan under public sector development programme (PSDP) and grant of $17.5 million from the Sultanate of Oman.

Nespak-ADP was hired as design consultant for the Project. Land measuring 4,300 acres located along coastal highway has been acquired and handed over to CAA in May 2008. PC-1 amounting to Rs7675 million along with master plan was approved by ECNEC.

CAA has already launched up-gradation/augmentation of existing infrastructure precision approach and landing/navigational aid system as well as radar network to facilitate more efficient and secured operations of aircraft in Pakistan's airspace.

The secretary was briefed by director general CAA about the facilities provided to the stakeholders and operators of the aviation sector by the authority.

DG CAA also briefed the chairperson CAA board that the government has approved the plan prepared by CAA for the new Gwadar Airport and land measuring 4300 acres located along coastal highway has been acquired and handed over to CAA.

The government also approved the plan of Thar (Islamkot airport). He apprised secretary of the present difficult security environment and CAA would continue to perform its assigned responsibilities with full zeal and efficiency.

The DG was accompanied at the briefing by the Deputy DG CAA Air Vice Marshal, Junaid Ahmed Siddiqui and other Directors of the authority.

Ms. Nargis Sethi appreciated the performance of CAA and assured it of her full support. She gave some guidelines for the authority with special focus on the airports and related facilities. (AB)