Successful Calibration Aircraft Test at Gwadar Marks Key Milestone for Pakistan’s New International Airport

In a significant development, Pakistan and Chinese teams successfully tested a calibration aircraft landing at the New Gwadar International Airport (NGIAP) on Tuesday. This achievement marks a crucial step towards the completion of the airport, which is expected to be operational by the fourth quarter of this year. The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) announced this milestone, highlighting its importance in the broader context of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


NGIAP is a greenfield airport under construction in Pakistan’s southwestern port city of Gwadar. This joint venture between Pakistan, Oman, and China aims to handle both domestic and international flights, playing a pivotal role in the region’s connectivity. The airport is an integral part of CPEC, a $60 billion energy and infrastructure project that is a flagship initiative of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.


The successful test landing of the calibration aircraft on the newly constructed runway was celebrated with a customary water cannon salute by the PCAA’s Rescue and Fire Fighting Services department. This milestone reflects the collaborative efforts of both Chinese and Pakistani project teams, alongside the PCAA’s technical directorates and Flight Inspection Unit (FIU).


“The Flight Calibration and Flight Procedure Design milestone for the New Gwadar International Airport has been successfully achieved today with the successful test landing of the Calibration Aircraft on the newly constructed runway,” the PCAA stated in a press release. The statement underscored the airport’s projected completion and operational status by the fourth quarter of this year.


The completion of NGIAP is expected to have a transformative impact on Gwadar and its surrounding areas, significantly improving the lives of the people in Balochistan province and the coastal region. Covering 4,300 acres, NGIAP is poised to become one of Pakistan’s largest airports and the nation’s second airport capable of handling an A380 aircraft.


Chinese investment and financial support have been vital for Pakistan since 2013, particularly in sustaining the South Asian nation’s struggling economy. This support includes rolling over loans to help Islamabad meet external financing needs amidst critically low foreign reserves.


In recent months, Pakistan has intensified efforts to attract foreign investment in key economic sectors such as minerals, agriculture, and tourism to stabilize its fragile $350 billion economy. The country is also focusing on enhancing bilateral ties with Central Asian states like Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to boost regional trade and improve connectivity.


The successful calibration aircraft test at Gwadar International Airport is a testament to the strong collaborative efforts between Pakistan and China. This milestone not only marks significant progress in the NGIAP project but also underscores the strategic importance of Gwadar in the broader CPEC initiative. As the airport moves towards completion, it promises to bring substantial economic benefits, improve regional connectivity, and play a crucial role in the development of Gwadar and its surrounding areas. Stay tuned for more updates as Pakistan continues to make strides in its infrastructure and economic development.

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