The saga of new Islamabad airport continues as the CAA has issued a new date for the opening of the airport being set at 16th of April. A NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) has also been issued confirming the opening of the airport for commercial use, that will free up the current Benazir Bhutto International Airport and make it a fully functioning airbase after decades.A lot is riding on this new airport being opened for public use because legacy carriers Lufthansa and British Airways are reportedly interested in resuming flight operations to Pakistan through the new Islamabad airport.
Lufthansa, who withdrew in 2008, and British Airways, who withdrew in 2008, both left the Pakistani market citing unavoidable circumstances. With the situation improving in the past few years, these airlines are looking to tap the market once again, with direct flights to Germany wide open for the carrier to take over, while British airways would enter into competition with Pakistan’s state-owned Pakistan International Airlines which flies 5 weekly flights to London Heathrow from the capital.
The resumption of flights by the legacy carriers is very important to the cause of aviation in Pakistan and Pakistan as a whole as in the past circumstances caused dwindling number of airlines which has really dented the hopes of tourism in the country. There would be times when Swiss air, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa, the now defunct Pan Am, Singapore Airlines, and many other airlines would fly to Pakistan and would always include stopovers at Karachi on their way to other destinations knowing well how good the market was.