At a time when Indian airports are increasingly topping international rankings carried out by numerous aviation experts, Islamabad has been stuttering to get its new airport take off. A project initially scheduled for completion in 2015, it has now received yet another deadline - end of April this year.
Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, advisor to Pakistan PM on Aviation, was quoted by Dawn as saying that there would not be any further delays and that the airport would be functional by the end of next month. While reports from 2017 suggested that the most-recent delay happened because a need for three runways was felt, the new airport will stick to the original plan of having just two runways for an average of nine million passengers each year. In contrast, Delhi's Indira Gandhi Airport handled a massive 63.5 million passengers in 2017 and with Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, was ranked best in the world in a survey by the Airports Council International in the 40 million passengers and more each year category. The airport in Hyderabad - Rajiv Gandhi International Airport - was adjudged best in the 5 to 15 million passengers each year category.
In sharp contrast, Islamabad has been playing catch up with some local reports even suggesting that the American consultants who were responsible for the airport project in Islamabad had 'abandoned' it. Nonetheless, once ready, the new airport will boast of 15 boarding bridges, state-of-the-art safety and surveillance equipment, radars and top-notch runway lighting systems, say reports.