PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the New Islamabad International Airport

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi inaugurated the New Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, the premier said this government not only starts development projects but also completes them.

He stated that aviation is a key component of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, adding that air travel is no more considered a luxury but a necessity.

“Aviation is close to my heart personally,” said Abbasi, who is associated with a private airline in the country.

The prime minister thanked his aviation adviser Mehtab Abbasi and former Civil Aviation Authority chief Air Marshal (retd) Asim Suleman, among other officials, for their role in completing the project.

In-pictures: New Islamabad International Airport ready to open its doors

The prime minister admitted that the project had taken a long time but it had finally become a reality.

He added that the new airport will set an example for all the other airports in terms of services provided.

“The airport reflects the work of five years of the current government.”

Abbasi also talked about the recently concluded and ongoing refurbishments at other major airports of the country including Gwadar.

First flight lands

The first incoming flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from Karachi landed at the new airport at 11am, while the first flight of the national airline will depart for Karachi at 12.30pm.

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

According to a PIA spokesperson, the airline’s president and CEO welcomed the flight on its arrival alongside the premier.

The airline also shared the momentous occasion in a tweet prior to take off.

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PIA

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All set and ready to take off!! Passengers have boarded and also received memorabilia on this historic first flight to land at the New Islamabad International Airport!

The facility will become fully operational from May 3 onwards with all flight operations shifting there from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

The newly-constructed airport spans over an area of 4238 acres of land and is said to be country’s first greenfield airport.

Labourers walk through the newly-constructed Islamabad airport. Photo: AFP

The 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-deck A380, as many as 15 remote bays and seven remote bays for small aircraft.

A cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, an oil depot and fire and rescue services are also part of the new facility.

The airport has a modular design which enables it to handle nine million passengers and 50,000 metric tons of cargo initially.

The new airport is located 30 km away from the central Islamabad, for which the construction work started in April 2007

Earlier on April 7, the first mock flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had landed at the New Islamabad International Airport. PK-9001 had departed from Benazir International Airport at 1:00pm and landed at the new airport around 1:30pm.

The flight had been scheduled to take off at 12:30pm but was delayed as the boarding process of some PIA pilots and their families, who were aboard the flight, took longer than expected.

PIA Chief Executive Officer Musharraf Rasool had also observed the mock exercise.

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