Pakistan International Airlines kept up its newly adopted practice of influencer marketing, the use of lifestyle, food and fashion bloggers to bolster its brand standing among potential customers on the inaugural flight to the New Islamabad International Airport. Flight PK-300 on the 1st of May 2018, marked the dawn of commercial operations to the much awaited, state of the art airport facility.The marketing and brand department of PIA, in a first of its kind move in Pakistan, recognized an integral part of Pakistan’s aviation blogging community, Pakistan Aviation and made us a part of the journey. We were privileged to experience first hand, this historic flight unfold and receive beautifully designed ‘Markhor’ inspired promotional merchandise, celebrating the iconic moment.
In a sharp difference to the old, Benazir Bhutto International Airport, any passenger stepping foot for the first time will not fail to immediately recognize the vast amount of space he has to breathe and to move. This is a noteworthy aspect the new airport has to offer, as the old BBIAP was very congested even on a good day. Furthermore like all public places, cleanliness and functionality of the restrooms are imperative for user comfort and the terminal toilets in NIIAP were no different.
As it was only the first day of the airport in operation, it is premature to comment on the quality of fittings and the functionality. Nevertheless keeping the visuals in mind, the restrooms are easily comparable to airports like New York’s JFK and Manchester’s Ringway International. As the bloggers, made their way to the baggage belts, the corridors with transparent glass on either side, wore a beautiful look. Upon looking carefully, we noticed that there were spots behind the glass which have a crucial feature, to boost passenger comfort, and something which can not be seen in any of the airport’s of Pakistan currently, reclining seats which, a highlight feature for the anxious and exhausted passengers experiencing flight delays, due to poor weather conditions or any other reasons.
Taking the escalator to the lower level, which houses the baggage claim area, anyone would be left with a dropped jaw, as the view from the escalator descending, is that of a collossal hall with numerous, spotless pillars and yet another spot in the terminal, which is characterized by bright lighting, beaming floor tiles, perfect symmetry and bold glass work in all four directions you look towards. And that truck art showcases the bright side of our culture that is celebrated all over the world.
As this was a domestic flight, we could not experience the immigration or customs counters, but first-hand accounts of people testify that the process is considerably quicker than the old airport, as well as other major international airports of Pakistan. The moment we step out after receiving our luggage, the airport’s construction and layout continue to impress us and proves to us, that the New Islamabad International Airport has set a high precedent for other in the country to follow. Huge efforts and an unwavering political will were required to bring the other airports in the country on par with the level of this facility.
Among the impressive features which can be viewed by people coming to drop off their loved ones, is the Visitor’s Gallery. The Visitor’s Gallery is said to have airside restaurants, and shops. That part of the terminal is currently under works, but we are optimistic that this particular aspect of NIIAP, will push the already high precedent set to an even unattainable level for other airports, possibly making NIIAP’s passenger experience the best in the country.