Rawalpindi - Advisor to the Prime Minister on Aviation Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Khan on Monday expressed the hope that the new Islamabad International Airport would be made operational in the first quarter of the next year.

Earlier, the government had vowed to inaugurate the new airport by end of 2017.

The advisor was talking to media after inaugurating a two-day meeting of the DGs of civil aviation of Developing-8 organisation at a local hotel under Aviation Division of Cabinet Secretariat.  He said that development work on the new airport was at final stages, which, he added, would be completed by end of the current year. He also informed the media that work on Gwadar Airport would commence in September 2018.

The meeting was also attended by Secretary Aviation, industry participants from D-8 countries Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria and Turkey and CEOs of Aerospace Industry, Airlines and other major stakeholders in Aviation. The meeting would conclude on 28th November, said CAA spokesperson.

Sardar Mehtab said that there has been significant development in aviation sector of the country, adding that the latest radar technology was being introduced. The Civil Aviation Authority, he said, was taking steps to equip important airports of the country with the latest navigation and airport systems. “We are moving fast for revamping the air navigation system, up-grading and extending the airports and acquiring state-of-the-art security equipment”, he said.

The advisor announced that radars with enhanced coverage had already been installed along with ADS-B systems. He said that work was in progress at Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Faisalabad airports and the latest aviation system would be in place shortly. Multan International Airport has been expanded and new boarding bridges have been installed at JIAP-Karachi. Expansion of AIIAP-Lahore is planned to start in 2018; while, BKIAP-Peshawar, Quetta and Faisalabad are in process of up-gradation.

He said that besides replacing the present radar system, the CIA was also focusing on other facilities like boarding bridges, roads infrastructure, parking and lounges as well as trainings. These steps will facilitate passengers as well as air traffic operations, he said. The participants appreciated the bold initiatives taken by the present government to ensure safety of aircraft, facilitation to the travelling passengers and ensuring their safety and security.

Welcoming the Director Generals and other participants of the member states, DG Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority Air Marshal (R) Asim Suleiman emphasized on strengthening the cooperation through coordinated, integrated and allied collaboration amongst D-8 member states in all spheres of Civil Aviation. He added that it is essential to progress and move forward globally from ‘Developing’ to ‘Developed’ Civil Aviation activities.  He further highlighted joint safety and security, as key areas where the forum must play its part.

Secretary General of D-8 organization, Seyed Ali Mohammad Mousavi, in his keynote speech highlighted the increased role of D-8 countries in improving the economic position of the member states.

Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan placed emphasis on fostering sustained, peaceful and unifying ties amongst all member states, directed towards improving the economy and the living standard of the people of D-8 countries. 

The meeting also highlighted CPEC under which several new economic and industrial zones are being established in various parts of Pakistan.

While talking to the media men, Sardar Mehtab Ahmed said that Pakistan places great emphasis on fostering good relations with all members of D-8. He expressed that we are always committed to elevate the standards of aviation and that it is our foremost priority to upgrade the human resource development, and to exalt all airports to ensure the safety measures of passengers. He shed light on various ongoing and future projects and shared that New Islamabad International Airport-NIIAP was scheduled to be inaugurated in first quarter of 2018, whereas construction of Gwadar Airport would be started in March 2018. He said that the expansion of Allama Iqbal International Airport, and up gradation of Bacha khan Peshawar Airport, Faisalabad and Quetta International Airport, would also be made in 2018.