Ahsan Iqbal announced this while chairing a meeting for airports in Balochistan for higher traffic volumes and enhanced air connectivity of the provinces.
The Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister directed authorities concerned to ensure the inauguration and shifting of flight operations from old Gwadar Airport to New Gwadar Airport by March next year. “It will be a gift for the people of Balochistan on Pakistan Day,” he added.
The Minister further announced to expand international flight operations from Quetta airport by August 14 this year to enhance Balochistan’s connectivity with the Middle East. The meeting was also briefed that PIA is operating 30 flights weekly to three cities in Balochistan. Amongst others who attended the meeting, Advisor Maritime Affairs, Jawad Khokhar, Additional Secretary Planning Dawood Muhammad, Secretary Aviation, Balochistan Chief Secretary, Pakistan International Airlines Chief Executive officer and Civil Aviation Authority Deputy Director- General were present.
It is pertinent to mention here that the new airport is one of the major projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The new airport will be suitable for bigger aircrafts like Airbus A-380 and Boeing B-747 and 777, etc., for international and domestic services.
This international airport on the Gwadar peninsula will provide a catalyst for economic growth and development in the region. Pakistan is interested in developing the Gwadar peninsula as a major port and trading area, particularly for trade between Pakistan and China.
The New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) is a new greenfield airport being built in Gwadar, managed and operated by Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.
To be owned by a joint venture between Pakistan, Oman, and China, the airport will handle domestic and international operations. The $246 million airport development is a part of the $56 billion CPEC development, which is a cornerstone of China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.
The Greenfield Airport to be built across an area of 4,300 acres, will be the one of the biggest in Pakistan and will also become the nation’s second airport capable of handling A380 aircraft upon its commissioning in 2022. It is expected to stimulate the development in Gwadar peninsula and boost trade between Pakistan and China. The airport is one of several development projects in Gwadar worth $690 million which the Chinese government is financing as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. After completion, the new airport will be Pakistan’s second largest. It will handle ATR 72, Airbus A-300 and Boeing B-747 aircraft on domestic as well as international routes.
Analysts say the airport is needed to handle the city’s future growth as it undergoes rapid development.
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