There were many important aspects to Gwadar expo 2019 but the undoubted highlight was reserved for the Prime Minister Imran Khan. At the exhibition on Friday March 29, Imran carried out the groundbreaking ceremony for Gwadar International Airport in what looks to be the most significant move yet for this strategic port city.
News of the ceremony was previously confirmed by a Chinese diplomat close to the CPEC alliance but it was pleasing for all concerned to see this carried out.
What does the ceremony involve?
The ceremony itself literally starts the construction process. Pictures from the day show Imran Khan with a tool in his hand smoothing over cement that will form the foundation stone of the structure. It’s more of a symbolic move than anything but it simply makes the start of development official.
A quick ceremony will have huge significance as those directly involved in Gwadar’s progress have confirmed.
How has the news been received?
The news has been particularly welcomed by China who are heavily invested in the region under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) agreement. Spokesman for the country’s foreign ministry Sheng Guang told the APP news agency that the development would benefit China, Pakistan and the whole world.
During a regular press conference, Sheng Guang said:
“China and Pakistan have carried out a series of practical cooperation projects under the Belt and Road Initiative and the airport at Gwadar is one of them.
“We applaud Prime Minister Imran Khan for attending the ceremony. We are confident of the prospects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which, we believe, will bring tangible benefits to our two countries and peoples and contribute to regional connectivity and growth.”
For his part, Imran Khan made a ten minute speech thanking officials and highlighting other plans for Gwadar moving forward. These included details of a new train service and a cargo / passenger ferry which will run from Gwadar to Karachi and Qatar.
There are many more plans for Gwadar in the future but it was the airport that will take centre stage and was the most significant point of Gwadar Expo 2019.
How big will Gwadar International Airport be?
In terms of actual land space, Gwadar airport will occupy some 4,300 acres of land. That’s an immense number, particularly when compared to other locations in the country such as Karachi at 3,700, Islamabad International at 3,600 and Lahore at 2,800.
The total cost of the project is put down at $230 million and when the site is complete, Gwadar International Airport will be capable of hosting huge aircraft including Airbus ATR72 and the Boeings B-737 and B-747.
It’s an immense project and also one that holds great significance for Gwadar. The port city has enjoyed significant investment from CPEC and is one of the most important locations in the China-Pakistan alliance. Property handover has just been completed and at Expo 2019, representatives from many different industries were there to network and to drive their businesses forward.
Now they have a new airport to look forward to on the back of Imran Khan’s groundbreaking ceremony.
Please watch some of the videos that were recorded on this historic day:-