Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif officially inaugurated major component of China-funded New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), a high-priority project of the CPEC, in a watershed moment of the tenth anniversary of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) around the globe. The PM unveiled completion of airbase infrastructure of the airport, including runway, taxiway and apron.
Debut of New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA), costing Rs 60.208 billion, marked a milestone cooperation between China and Pakistan under the framework of CPEC, fostering a saga of air transport infrastructure and economic growth that will change the fate of Gwadar, an emerging logistic hub and center piece of regional and international connectivity.
Collaborated by China Airport Construction Group Co Ltd and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Pakistan, NGIA consists of 32 components like state of art runway, aprons, a terminal, along with civil, technical, electrical and communication infrastructure and rest of modern allied facilities.
Spreading over across an area of 4,300 acres as the second biggest airport in Pakistan, NGIA has capacity to accommodate narrow-body aircraft such as ATR 72 and Boeing B-737, as well as wide-body aircraft such as Airbus A-380 and Boeing B-747 for domestic and international routes. The airport will be operated under open sky policy and developed under the guidance of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
Launched in 201, fully-funded by Chinese government, NGIA is located in Gurandani, 26 kilometers east of Gwadar City on the south-western Arabian Sea coast of Balochistan region.
In his speech, PM Sharif noted, “It is a day of pleasure for me (to be here). As soon as I assumed the charge of premiership, perhaps after 2 months, I visited Gwadar on June 2, 2022. That moment, I was so saddened to see that many projects under CPEC were slowed down. I realized that there was no enough drinking water facility and power to run domestic consumption for local residents here.”
On the occasion, Governor Balochistan Abdul Wali Kakar emphasized that not only the new airport, but the whole Gwadar port plays a crucial role for the people of Balochistan as well as Pakistan. “In this regard, Prime Minister Sharif’s contributions for the country are praiseworthy,” he added.
Later on, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal expressed his views. “I have emotional attachment with Gwadar. When I visited here with Chinese Deputy Minister for National Development and Reform Commission, I realized that there was no standardized hotel for VIP guests in Gwadar. Then, I requested the owner of PC hotel Mr. Ashwani to open a branch here. In 2018, when I visited Gwadar again, the General Manager of PC Gwadar told me that the hotel is occupied to the fullest of its capacity and they are planning for an extension building. I believe our new airport will follow the same path of development.”
Signifying the geo-strategic and geo-economic significance of Gwadar, the minister expressed anticipation that Gwadar would provide immense business and trade opportunities and potentials of regional connectivity for all regional countries. And the NGIA will make it all even better.
Other officials attending the ceremony included Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Amjad Khan Niazi, Governor Balochistan Abdul Wali Kakar, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Faisal Sabzwari, Minister of Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique, Minister of State for Communications Asad Mehmood, Chief Secretary Balochistan Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Secretary Maritime Affairs Ghufran Memon and other civil and military notables.