The New Islamabad International Airport will be the first green field airport ever constructed in Pakistan and will be named after the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (decided in June 2008 by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani).
The project was announced in January 2005 and construction began in April 2007, when funding became available.
The new airport will eventually replace the over crowded Islamabad International Airport at Chaklala providing better access for the northern areas, north-west frontier province, federally administered tribal areas, Azad Jammu, Potohar and Kashmir.
The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) is the controlling body for the $400m (PKR37bn) project which is likely to see the airport opening for operations in 2011–2012.
The new 3,200-acre (13km²) airport site is situated on a plot of land acquired by the PCAA in the 1980s at Pind Ranjah near Fateh Jang (an additional 400 acres have been acquired to build the two runways). The airport will be 20km from the centre of Islamabad, and 23km from Rawalpindi being well served by an excellent highway infrastructure.
The airport will be constructed in two phases. Phase I of the project, which included site preparation and other earth works, was completed in April 2008. About 20% of air side infrastructure work has been completed.
Ground is being levelled for the terminal building and allied facilities. The controlling body Civil Aviation Authority has apportioned contracts worth PKR14.224bn ($178.6m) for construction activities under the self-financed project. Of these PKR11.825bn was allocated for air side infrastructure work. The airport will start operations by 2011.
Phase II of the project is underway. It will see car parking for 2,000 vehicles, a covered plaza area for 200 cars, a control tower, maintenance hangar, a 15-gate terminal with ten remote gates, 42 immigration counters, nine baggage claim carousels, 12 X-ray machines, and also office and administration facilities. There will also be a hotel, convention centre, duty-free shops, air side mall, business centre, food court, leisure facilities and banks at the new terminal.
The airport will have a 180,000m² modular terminal building which will initially be able to handle nine million passengers a year. There will be two 4,000ft-long category-F runways (for largest heaviest aircraft) although initially only one will be used for operations and the other will be retained as an emergency runway.
There will also be a cargo complex capable of handling 100,000t a year, four rapid-exit taxiways, a special parking area for hijacked aircraft, apron parking sufficient for the contact stands, underground cable network, parking for ground handling vehicles, secure cargo areas and major airport road infrastructure.
The airport infrastructure was designed by ADPI (Aéroports de Paris ingénierie) along with Acorp, Mushtaq and Bilal Mahboob Associates. The terminal building was designed by CPG Corporation of Singapore in a joint venture with National Engineering Services Pakistan (pvt) Ltd (design started in March 2006).
“The New Islamabad terminal will make full use of traditional Islamic geometric patterns in its design.”
The project management consultants for the new airport are Louis Berger Group of the US along with ECIL (Engineering Consultants International Ltd) of Pakistan.
The first phase of the construction (air side infrastructure including runways) is being undertaken over a 24-month contract for PKR11.8bn by Lagan Construction of the Republic of Ireland (60% of the work) and their local partners Husnain Cotex (40% of the work). Husnain Cotex and IKAN have also formed a joint venture to carry out the preliminary works at the airport site including earthworks and construction of embankments for the runway and main access road to the site.
Airport Terminal Design
The design of the new terminal building will be an architecturally significant one for Pakistan producing a national icon for the country. The design will also be sustainable and environmentally sound with use of natural daylight for main lighting and sun shading to cut cooling costs as well as an intelligent main roof (water conservation) and an elongated driveway length front portal (better views and more light).
The terminal will also make full use of traditional Islamic geometric patterns in its design. The modular terminal building will have a linear pier on each side and a centre pier extending out to serve the boarding gates. The international and domestic halls will be located together under the main roof, which will be a simple trapezoid cantilevered from one of the two side piers with a cantilevered mesh screen trellis defining the exposed roof edge and attaching to a row of columns close to the ground.