Google Earth preview: Gandhara International Airport, Islamabad

While exploring through latest satellite imagery updates, it was amazing to discover the noticeable development progress for New Islamabad International Airport (Officially Gandhara International Airport).

As usual, limited information access to public by government and so limited coverage by media, the exact location and progress of the airport has been a myth. The latest satellite imagery captured on 1st November 2010 by GeoEye and provided by Google in 13th April 2011 update illustrates some considerable ongoing progress at the expected site of this most awaited airport that is going to be the biggest airport replacing the current Jinnah International Airport in Karachi after completion. The expected completion and operational activities are expected from 30th June 2013 and this latest imagery update proves it to be promising at some point.

Announced by Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan in 2005, Gandhara International Airport is named after ancient Buddhist kingdom and will replace the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport for all type of commercial, diplomatic and cargo flights after completion.

The late start construction in 2007 with an estimated cost of USD 400 million, expects to provide a significant designed artefact with world class facilities for passengers. The main contractor of NIIA is National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK), a renowned Pakistani firm, with partnership of two international companies.


ADPI Desginers & Planners, a French company that is responsible for following:

Master plan of airport
Air traffic control (ATC) towers
Airside and landside buildings
Cargo complex
Passenger loading bridges

CPG Corporation, a Singaporean company that is responsible for following:

Architectureal design & consultancy
Mechanical & electrical engineering
Civil & structural engineering
Quantity surveying

CPG Corporation describes its expected achievements in this development progress as:

The design for the Passenger Terminal Building for the new airport in the capital of Pakistan, Islamabad, features an architectural enclosure of an extensively sky-lit main roof giant trellis screen portal, and articulation of sun-shading to the airside. This showcases tradition meeting modernity through Islamic geometric patterning more representative of Pakistan.

The airport is going to have two runways to handle all the traffic, each of them approximately 4000 meter in length. As you can see in one of the images that the measuring tool in Google Earth just provides the approximate same length for one of the partial completed runway.

The boundary of airport has been defined by Pakistani mappers as you read this article. It is advised and recommended NOT to map the incomplete features inside airport just yet. Images are taken and copyrights to Google Earth, ADPI Designers & Planners and CPG Corporation.