Pakistan's long-delayed new airport to open on May 3, official says

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ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A long-delayed new international airport for Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, is set to open on May 3, a civil aviation official said on Wednesday during an advance tour of the facility.

The new facility will replace cramped Benazir Bhutto International Airport, voted the worst airport in the world in 2014 by the “Guide to Sleeping in Airports” website.

The new Islamabad International Airport, 30 kilometers from the capital, will be capable of serving 9 million passengers per year and 50,000 metric tons of cargo.

It has been under construction for more than a decade, encountering repeated delays and missing deadlines for opening dating back to 2016. The May 3 opening date itself is a delay from the previous deadline of Friday.

“It has been decided that the operational date of the airport will be May 3 ... not April 20, as originally announced,” said Nadir Shafi Dar, director of planning and development for the Civil Aviation Authority.

The new airport will have runways capable of handling larger A380 jets that are now unable to land in the capital.

It will also have 15 air bridges to allow boarding directly from the terminal, instead passengers riding buses to all planes.

Reporting by Salauddin, writing by Kay Johnson, editing by Larry King