By Barkatullah Baloch
Gwadar port in Balochistan remains the focal point of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan’s biggest airport, New Gwadar International Airport is one of the many projects under the umbrella of CPEC.
The government has accelerated the construction work after the approval of a grant to be funded by China. The work on the second phase is likely to be started by in December this year.
The New Airport is being built at Grandani, 14 KM to the north of Gwadar. Sajjad Ahmed, the Project Director of the airport told Pak Voices that New Gwadar International Airport will be the largest airport in Pakistan in terms of its area as it spans over 4300 acres of land.
The runway at the New Gwadar International Airport would be equal the size of the runway of the New Islamabad International Airport. This would have the capacity to handle the landing and taking off of the modern giant sized double decker aircraft.
New Gwadar International Airport is being constructed on behalf of the Chinese government. Sajjad Ahmed Project Director of the Airport confirmed it while talking to Pak Voices. “This airport is a gift from the Chinese Government to the people of Pakistan. It will be completed in three years and the cost of construction will be borne by the Chinese government.”
He further told Pak Voices that there would be a parking space for 500 plus cars at the airport and annually it would handle 30,000 tonnes of cargo as well.
The airport would be capable of handling the larger sized air crafts like Airbus, A-300, Boeing B-737, and Boeing B-747 for both domestic and international routes.The construction work on phase 2 of the project is yet to begin.
The construction work on phase-II of the project is yet to begin. Mr Ahmed explained the reasons for its delay, “We are still working on designing the airport. Once it’s finalised, we will launch the work on phase II.”
PC-I of the New Airport in Gwadar was planned in 2010 and it was revised in 2015. The Project Director said, “The PC-I was reviewed in 2015 and the total cost of the project which is plus 22 billion rupees was approved.”
Dosteen Jamaldini, Chairman Gwadar Port Authority while talking to Pak Voices said, “The construction of the New Airport would not only facilitate transportation but it would also provide a lot of business opportunities. A lot of goods would be transported by cargo services at the airport and a number of duty-free shops would be set up at the airport.”
Moreover, the airport would provide 3000 to 4000 job opportunities once it becomes functional. He further told to Pak Voices, “The world’s biggest aircraft Airbus A380 would be able to land and take off at the airport. This Airport is being constructed keeping in view the travelling and business needs like Doha, Singapore and Dubai airports.”
Regarding the construction work, Jamaldini said, “Some construction work has been done with the help of Omani grant which includes the erection of barbed wire on the boundary, security tower, and roads. On the other hand, approach roads linking the airport to the coastal highway have been constructed by Gwadar Development Authority (GDA).
“Now China is to start the construction work on its second phase in December this year.”
Behram Baloch a local journalist and president of Gwadar Press Club told Pak Voices, “New Gwadar International Airport was planned before CPEC. Pakistan government was to complete the project itself. But after the announcement of CPEC, Chinese Government took over the project.”
All the developments done so far were initiated before CPEC was conceived, and was sponsored by Oman. While China will begin the construction work on the airport in its phase II.
The writer works as a citizen journalist for Pak Voices from Gwadar.
All photos by the writer.
Translated by Tariq Mahmood.