ISLAMABAD: The spadework for construction of Gwadar International Airport measuring 4,300 acres and costing $246 million has, now, been completed, and both the Pakistani and the Chinese authorities are currently engaged to sort out modalities to initiate construction work in April this year, sources told The News here on Sunday.

“Currently, the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) comprising the Pakistani and the Chinese officials look forward to initiate work on the Gwadar Airport in March as the feasibility study of the project has been completed, reviewed and approved by the competent authorities,” the sources said.

According to the latest official record, the design and work plan has been approved and the construction work would be started in 1st quarter of 2019. The soil testing on the land that began in January 2018 has been completed through 300 boreholes made on various locations.

“The projects in Gwadar are conducted under a Framework agreement with NDRC and a MoU with MOFCOM and the Exim Bank. Unlike many of the other CPEC projects in Gwadar, the New Gwadar International Airport is not financed by a loan from China but through a Chinese Grant,” it said.

It showed that the grant agreement was signed in May 2017 and the name of the airport would be New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) that would be capable of handling a combination of ATR 72, Boeing B-737 and Boeing B-747. The estimated cost is 246 million dollar and the executing company would be Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

It will be the biggest airport of Pakistan. In comparison to other airports like Karachi Airport (3,700 acres), Islamabad International Airport (3,600 acres), Lahore Airport (2,800 acres), the Gwadar Airport will be built on 4,300 acres.

The sources said the Pakistani government is expected to announce initiation of formal work on the Gwadar International Airport in next two weeks, adding, “The provision of funds for this project would be ensured in line with the mutual agreement made between the Pakistani and the Chinese governments.”

They said the Balochistan government has already included the Gwadar Airport in the Master Plan of Gwadar that also comprises multi-billion projects to turn this area into a hub of economic activities.