More than a decade-long wait for the completion and opening of Islamabad International Airport got extended further as the April 20 inauguration was pushed back to May 3.
Pakistan-based Dawn reported that the new airport, which missed countless deadlines, was all set to be opened on Friday but that the country's Civil Aviation Authority pushed back the date. The official reason assigned was that Sardar Mehtab Ahmed, the advisor on aviation to the Pakistani Prime Minister, required more tests on the system and equipment. Authorities were therefore forced to postpone the inauguration despite operational preparedness being completed and new flight schedule announced.
Interestingly, the same advisor on aviation to PM had assured last month that April 20 was the final date for the opening and that no more delays would take place.
At a time when airports in India - especially the ones in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad - are topping international surveys on customer satisfaction and operational abilities, Pakistan has been struggling to complete its most latest airport- touted to be state-of-the-art. While airports like Delhi's IGI and Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport handle more than 40 million passengers each year, the new facility in Islamabad - when it does open - will cater to nine million passengers annually in its first phase. The target is to cater to 25 million passengers each year by 2025.