After a rather long delay, the newly built Islamabad International Airport is all set to open its doors to the public on April 20, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The last inauguration date for the airport was scheduled for August 14, 2017, but project delays and myriad irregularities pushed this date further. This time around the CAA is serious about the new inauguration date and has urged all stakeholders to make necessary arrangements to ensure smooth transfer of all activities from the present airport, Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIAP) to the new one, before April 20.
Once the airport inauguration date was missed for the second time last year, authorities became concerned and the auditor general’s report for 2016-17 showed massive irregularities in the construction of the new airport. Most of these arose from awarding work to ineligible contractors in violation of rules causing losses running into billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
The Auditor General of Pakistan also identified violation of the Planning Commission’s project management guidelines, including rules of Public Procurement Regulations Authority in several projects. The report was recently tabled in parliament.
Tendering for ‘aircraft stand equipment’ was unjustifiably delayed, resulting in payment of higher rates because of limited competition and fluctuations in foreign currency rate. Work on this project was awarded at Rs5.99 billion or 25.3 per cent higher than the engineer’s provisional estimate of Rs4.7 billion.
“Audit maintains that unjustified delay in tendering process caused award of work at higher rates without revision of the initial Project Cycle (PC) I which was due to weak internal controls.”
The new airport boasts modern equipment and state-of-the art facilities to make the passengers experience pleasant while at the airport.