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Senate body asks CAA to redesign third runway of new Islamabad airport

Senate body asks CAA to redesign third runway of new Islamabad airport

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat on Wednesday directed the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to revisit the design of third runway at the new Islamabad airport so that at the interests of the local settlements could be safeguarded.

The chairman of the Senate committee, Senator Talha Mahmood said the residents of Meelu village, located adjacent to the airport, feared that they would be uprooted if the government acquired more land for the planned construction of the third runway.

“The CAA should stop issuing no objection certificates to upcoming private housing societies. There should be minimum disturbance to the existing population and they should be given relief,” said Talha Mahmood.

The move is aimed at safeguarding locals’ interests

The committee had a briefing on the current status of the runway at the new Islamabad international airport and its exact location.

The committee also observed that ‘powerful’ owners of private housing societies were trying to get the location of the third runway pushed towards the village.

Nonetheless, the committee directed the CAA to reconsider the design of the third runway to give relief to the existing population around the new airport.

The committee was critical of the CAA for failing to acquire land before the start of the construction of the new airport.

However, Director General, CAA, retired Air Marshal Asim Suleiman informed the members this was the right time to buy more land.

The construction of the third runway could not be influenced and has to be supported and complimented by the present infrastructure, said Asim Suleiman, adding, “The concerns of the committee are being considered. However, we cannot commit anything until the consultant working on it can confirm the new design.”

The air marshal informed the committee that the third runway had to be designed on technical grounds. The third runway was planned in the beginning.

While the members suggested an alternative location for the third runway, CAA argued that the consultant had limited options in designing it.

Asim Suleimn pointed out that the location suggested by the members was too far from the parking docks for aircraft and main airport building.

Stressing on safeguarding interests of the local population again, the chairman of the committee, Senator Talha Mahmood said that the new airport was one of the most abrupt and faulty projects with flaws in its design and planning, missing basic facilities such as availability of water supply.

Nonetheless, the committee directed the CAA to erect a boundary wall around its premises. It also directed the CAA for a report specifying the location of the third runway.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2017

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