ISLAMABAD - Work on the Gwadar International Airport being constructed at a cost of $260 million continues and the project will be completed within stipulated time.

The Gwadar airport to cater to the needs of Gwadar deep sea port as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be an airport of international standards capable of handling the largest of passenger planes, including the A380 Boeing Jet.

It is a large airport in Balochistan, as it operates to cater mainly to the population of Gwadar.

Pakistan International Airlines, the main airline flying out of the airport, connects Gwadar to Karachi, Turbat and Muscat.

Other airlines had launched their flights to Gwadar but had to suspend these due to poor performance.

These included Oman Air, which flew to Muscat using ATR 42 aircraft, and Airblue, which started twice daily flights to Karachi through its joint venture partner JS Air.

Pakistan anticipates Gwadar becoming a regional economic hub and, in preparation for this, has issued a directive for the development of New Gwadar International Airport.

For this purpose, the CAA has earmarked 3000 acres (12 km²) of land 26km northeast of the existing airport. The new airport will be given international status and operate under the open skies policy. In the meantime, there are plans at the existing airport to further facilitate the movement of wide-bodied aircraft.

Pakistan handed hundreds of acres of land over to China for development of a special economic zone in the port of Gwadar, part of a $46 billion project giving Beijing greater access to the Middle East, Africa and Europe.

The provincial government in Balochistan, country’s poorest, handed over about 2,300 acres swathe of tax-exempt land that Beijing will develop under a 43-year lease.

The rest of the land will be handed over under the agreement with the public China Overseas Port Holding Company

Gwadar will be connected to Khunjrab through multiple routes as port will serve different markets and destinations.

Gwadar-Quetta link of western route would be completed by December 2016. Located at the crossroads of West, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and China, Pakistan can become an energy and trade corridor that connects the fast-emerging economics in the region.

This will be achieved through CPEC by building transnational roads, railways, and oil and gas pipelines that crisscross Pakistan’s industrial heartland and egress from ports like Karachi and Gwadar.