A handful of transportation innovations over the last century, electric street cars, automobiles, and airplanes, have had profound impacts on the size, distribution, and internal structure of cities with several authors positing an air-auto age. The infrastructure supporting these transportation modes are not intrusions upon cities but fundamental components of large contemporary cities. Nodes of transport interchange, whether central points of junction or places of transfer between long distance and local means of transport, frequently serve as anchors for urban development.
Airports have become more than just a port that people travel through on their way to their destination, with many now operating as hubs that send passengers around the world. Hub airports work to create economics of scale by pooling demand for destinations and regular flights. After facing delays for many years and spending billions of rupees, Pakistan’s largest airport – the Islamabad International Airport – has been finally completed and inaugurated by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on 1st May.
Originally scheduled to be completed during the era of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government at a cost of Rs32 billion, the airport has finally been completed at a cost of more than Rs105 billion with multiple completion deadlines being revised time and again. The Islamabad new airport, which is designed as “Y” shape, includes 15 passenger boarding bridges, a passenger-friendly terminal, two runways, three taxiways along with facilities to accommodate two double-decks A380, as many as 15 remote bays and seven remote bays for small aircraft.
A cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, oil depot and two fire stations with latest fire-fighting equipment as well as rescue services are also part of the new facility. The airport is equipped with LED airfield lighting system for better vision at night. Islamabad’s new airport has South East Asia’s third Instrument Landing System (ILS) Category 3. Before this, only Lahore Airport and Delhi Airport had ILS in the region. ILS gives a 50-meter visibility even during thick foggy weather. The airport has a modular design which enables it to handle nine million passengers and 50,000 metric tons of cargo initially. Currently, the airport has enough capacity to handle 9 million passengers a year. It does have the capability to cater 25 million passengers per annum upon expansion as well.
The new airport has two runways and three rapid exit taxiways which will make A380’s landing and take-off easier and without any delays. In case of an emergency on the main runway, the secondary runway will be used which can handle planes as large as the Boeing B777.
It was a unique project of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and designed by the French company Aéroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPi) and CPG Corporation of Singapore. The whole project was financed by CAA on its own. It is built on more than 3200 acres of land and consists of a passenger terminal building, 2 runways (28L/10R, 28R/10L), taxiways, apron and parking bays for widebody aircraft. There is also a cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, fuel farm, as well as a fire, crash, and rescue facility. It is equipped to handle all types of aircraft including the new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 747-8 and Airbus A350 XWB aircraft. The site of the airport is near the Rawalpindi-Fateh Jang Road near Fateh Jang Attock, some 20 km from Zero Point, Islamabad and 23 km from Saddar, Rawalpindi. The airport was developed to be on par with international standards to serve as a major hub for all aviation activities in Pakistan.
The CAA asked a team of British architects to design the new airport. CAA signed an agreement with Louis Berger Group of USA in association with Pakistani consulting firm GT AASR, to undertake project management services. On 18 April 2018, anotam was issued by CAA which mentioned that the new Islamabad International Airport will be operational from 3 May 2018. This was followed up with the airport commencing full commercial flight operations on 3 May 2018 and thus replacing the old airport.
According to civil aviation authority(CAA) the international new airport of Islamabad has the facilities of the international airports which are provide by other international airports of the world.
Moreover, the airport provides best first aid medical facilities to passengers of all airlines, airport functionaries, CAA employees and emergency evacuation of serious cases to the nearest Govt. A hospital is built to provide all medical facilities. Further, inspection of food outlets and other areas are ensured for hygiene and maintaining quality standards.
Facilities are available for all privileged needy passengers and senior citizens. Facilities are signposted and identified with the standard International Sinology. Passenger with such needs should notify their airlines ahead of their visit. They can contact concerned airlines for wheel chair service on their special counters in arrival and departure halls. For quick money exchange and other negotiable instruments banks and money change counters are available 24 hours. Free Wifi Internet Services are also available at all lounges including International / Domestic departure and Rawal Lounge for the convenience of passengers.
Contributed by Zahid Hussain
The writer is Staff Reporter & Content Writer at ‘Mélange Int’l Magazine’ & ‘ The Asian Telegraph’.