ISLAMABAD, May 1 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday inaugurated the newly-built Islamabad International Airport with the landing of the first commercial flight, an official from the Civil Aviation Authority said.
According to the Civil Aviation Authority official, the first domestic commercial flight of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) that took off from the southern port city of Karachi landed at the new airport at 11:00 a.m. local time. Later on, another flight of the PIA departed from the new airport for Karachi at 12:30 p.m. local time.
The complete operations of the new airport will commence on Thursday, when all flights will take off from the new airport located in Fateh Jang area around 30 km to the west of the capital Islamabad.
The prime minister, ministers, officers from the armed forces and staff of the airlines welcomed the passengers of the first flight landed at the new airport.
The prime minister said the new airport with modern facilities reflects the economic development that has been taking place in the country during the last five years.
"The new Islamabad airport is located at the crossroad of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and it will open a new gateway for the country's development," said the prime minister.
Abbasi added that the new airport will give a direction to other airports in the country in up-gradation to provide quality services to passengers.
Earlier on April 8, the first test flight of PIA landed at the new airport with the purpose of assessing the operational ability of the airport.
The PIA also revamped its planes, featuring a logo of Pakistan's national animal Markhor in connection with the launch of the new airport, according to the airline's spokesperson.
The "Y" shaped new airport spreads over 19 square km with 15 jetties, including facilities to accommodate two double-deck A380, the world's largest airplane, among others.
The new airport is Pakistan's first-ever greenfield airport as well as the biggest international airport in the country in terms of landing and passenger handling facilities.
It has two runways, each 3.5 km long, three taxiways and a cargo apron which can accommodate large and small aircraft.
The airport has a modular design which enables it to handle 9 million passengers and 50,000 metric tons of cargo annually.
The modern airport has a 50-bed hospital, a golf course, three shopping malls, a cinema, a convention center, duty-free shops and restaurants and other leisure or recreational facilities.