ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed Monday informed the National Assembly that the new Benazir Bhutto International Airport would be completed by 2016.
Replying to a question, the minister said according to the original PC-I, the estimated cost of the project was Rs 37 billion. However, the cost had been revised to Rs 94.893 as the project was re-designed as initially it had a small runway. The approval for the revised PC-I was under process.
He said there were so many reasons of delay, including cost of additional acquisition of land for the second runway, increase in the price of dollar, price escalation due to prolongation in execution tenure of the project and increase in costs of consultancy services.
The minister said there was no proposal under consideration for development of any other new airport in Islamabad.
He said a number of irregularities had been identified in the new airport and a committee constituted in this regard, had submitted its report. The case was now with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and after completion of its inquiry, it would be referred to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Sheikh Aftab said the infrastructure, including roads and availability of water, would also be completed for the new airport.
Replying to another question, the minister said that the government was taking several steps on the directive of Prime Minister to improve the performance of Pakistan International Airline (PIA), including a package of Rs 16 billion for debt servicing, acquiring aircraft on lease and repairing of 10 grounded aircraft.
Regarding the PIA flight for Mohenjo Dharro, the minister said he would talk to the official concerned to continue the flights from three to seven days.
He said the present government had issued clear instructions to the PIA and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to improve their performance. It would complete ongoing works at all the airports across the country.
Sheikh Aftab said the infrastructure of Faisalabad airport was being upgraded at the cost of Rs 516.7 million during current and next financial years. The work was in progress and likely to be completed within stipulated time line.
Regarding the Multan International Airport, the minister said it was being upgraded by the CAA. The terminal building had been completed, while ancillary facilities like roads, electricity and sewerage were struck up due to clearance of land by military authorities.
He said the upgradation of airport had been planned for the operation of wide-bodied aircraft (B-747 or equivalent) and corresponding passenger facilities at cost of Rs 8 billion.
The minister said some airports, including Bannu, had been closed due to non-availability of passengers, which would be made operational after the arrival of new aircraft and availability of passengers.
The government has issued directives to the PIA to address complaints regarding booking of seats on priority, he said and added that five more small aircraft were being taken on lease from Turkey to facilitate passengers.