Rawalpindi - The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has denounced the criteria for grading Islamabad airport as the worst airport of the world.

Islamabad airport was neither a hub nor a transit airport and therefore, necessary facilities for long layover are not available here. The passengers as and when travelling through this airport are taken to the hotels as per policy of the airline, said CAA spokesman Mubarak Shah here on Tuesday. Last week, international and local newspapers ran stories based on online polls by “The Guide to Sleeping in Airports”. Islamabad airport was declared the worst, beating Jeddah and Kathmandu.

Mubarak said that Islamabad airport was graded with reference to the availability of sleeping environment and facilities such as restrooms, etc. The airports worldwide are designed and operated in line with ICAO criteria for expeditious movement of passengers, he said, adding that the criterion of sleeping environment was, therefore, contrary to the international standards and hence grading Islamabad airport as the worst stands irrational.

Islamabad airport was a space constrained airport and handling air travellers beyond the available capacity. The possibility of congestion, long queues during peak traffic hours, therefore, cannot be overruled. He said that Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority has implemented two-prong strategy to address the shortcomings in term of short-term and long-term measures.

“The existing airport is being optimised in term of possible expansion / revamping of some facilities, flight staggering and team like approach by the stakeholders for best possible services to air travellers. The construction of New Islamabad Airport is already in progress with state-of-the-art facilities for air travellers as a long-term measure,” he said.

The suggestion / complaint cell at Islamabad airport has also verified the impact of improved measures as the number of complaints over the past few months have reduced by 40 per cent. Mubarik further added that transit/hub airports were mostly provided with facilities for long layover and transit passengers such as Dubai International Airport. Islamabad International Airport was neither a hub nor a transit airport and therefore, necessary facilities for long layover are not available.

Such passengers as and when travelling through this airport are taken to the hotels as per policy of the airline.

New Islamabad Airport was scheduled to be provided with all such facilities upon commissioning, he said.