New Islamabad International Airport

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Gandhara International Airport
New Islamabad International Airport
IATA: noneICAO: none
Airport type Public
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan
Serves Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area
Location Rawalpindi district, Punjab
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 1,899 ft / 579 m
Coordinates 33°33′38.57″N 72°51′5.81″E / 33.5607139°N 72.8516139°E / 33.5607139; 72.8516139Coordinates: 33°33′38.57″N 72°51′5.81″E / 33.5607139°N 72.8516139°E / 33.5607139; 72.8516139
ISB is located in Pakistan
Location of airport Near Islamabad
Direction Length Surface
m ft
1 4,000 13,123 category-F
2 4,000 13,123 category-F

New Islamabad International Airport or Gandhara International Airport is an under construction international airport near Islamabad in Rawalpindi district, Pakistan. Its built to replace the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport located in Chaklala. It is expected to be complete and operational by October 2016.


The plan to construct a new airport for Islamabad was conceived in the late 1980s to deal with the problem of increased passenger load at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. The current annual turnover of passengers at the current airport is about 3.5 million. It was estimated that the number of passengers at the airport is growing by 14 per cent annually compared to national air passenger growth rate of less than four per cent, making it one of the busiest airports in the country. Therefore, a site in Rawalpindi district was selected as the site for the construction of a new airport just a few kilometers from the Islamabad interchange on M1/M2 motorways. However the project couldn't be started and was repeatedly postponed till 2005. The plan to construct a new airport was announced on 7 January 2005 by Civil Aviation Authority. The foundation stone of the project was laid by former President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on 7 April 2007.

The CAA asked a team of British architects to design the new airport. The airport is the first-ever green-field airport in Pakistan and would be built at a cost of $300 million. CAA signed an agreement with Louis Berger Group of USA in association with Pakistani consulting firm GT AASR, to undertake project management services. It is anticipated that the new facility will become operational by 31 March 2015.[1] This airport will be the largest and most modern in Pakistan upon completion.

Project details[edit]

It is a joint project of Capital Development Authority (CDA), National Highway Authority (NHA) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and designed by French company Aéroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPi) and CPG Corporation of Singapore. It is being built on more than 3200 acres of land and consists of a passenger terminal building, runways, taxiways, apron and parking bays for wide body aircraft. There will also be a cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, fuel farm, as well as a fire, crash and rescue facility. It would be equipped to handle all types of aircraft including the new generation aircraft such as the Airbus A380. The construction site of the airport is near the Rawalpindi-Fateh Jang Road near Fateh Jang, some 20 km from Zero Point, Islamabad and 23 km from Saddar, Rawalpindi.[2] The airport is being developed to be at par with international standards to serve as major hub for all aviation activities in Pakistan. The airport will have a 180,000m² modular terminal building which will initially be able to handle 9 million passengers and 80,000 metric tonnes cargo per annum. The numbers are expected to reach 15 million passengers by 2019 and increase to 25 million passengers by 2024.[3] Being a new airport, a significant portion of the land has been earmarked for commercial purposes such as duty-free shops, hotel and convention centre, air malls, business centre, food courts, leisure and recreational facilities.

The naming of the airport has been controversial due to political considerations. The CAA announced its intention to name the airport Gandhara International Airport after the ancient Hindu kingdom of Gandhara.[4] The project was worked out through three levels: concept designing, primary and final designing.[5]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]