Friday May 04, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Excited passengers flocking to and from the New Islamabad International Airport were in for a sour surprise on Friday as various difficulties awaited them at the new and shining facility.
According to sources, passengers complained of a lack of porters, an absence of a help desk of the Civil Aviation Authority, shortage of porters, poor internet connection and a dysfunctional conveyor belt, among several other issues.
Moreover, sources said passengers were forced to sit on the floor in the international lounges.
Sharing her ordeal, British Member of Parliament Naz Shah wrote on Twitter that it took her more than three hours to get her luggage.
She revealed further that there were many other international passengers who had bee waiting for more than five hours for their luggage.
Quoting the staff, she said the new airport is not equipped and was opened prematurely and termed the whole thing embarrassing.
However, the biggest problem with the new airport is its far-off location from the twin cities' centres and a lack of public transport system to and from there.
Though the government had launched an extension of the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metro bus to the new airport, the project is far from completion at the moment.
Moreover, media reports after the May 1 inauguration had stated that the airport also does not have a flight kitchen, thus on-board food will be brought from the old Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
"The airport reflects the work of five years of the current government," the prime minister had said at its inauguration on May 1.
Pakistan’s long-awaited new airport in the federal capital opened its doors Thursday, after years of delays and setbacks and a soaring cost of over Rs100 billion.
The new airport is set to be able to handle more than nine million passengers annually.
However, the disconcerting number of setbacks delaying its opening since at least 2013 became a perennial joke in the capital, highlighting the government’s inability to complete high-profile infrastructure projects.
Just two weeks ago, the opening of the airport was delayed again after it was revealed the facility did not have any drinking water or completed restrooms.
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 30km away from central Islamabad, for which construction work started in April 2007.