FAISALABAD - The number of air passengers travelling from Faisalabad International Airport will swell from 0.5 million to 0.8 million in the current year while four more airlines would start functioning at the airport this year.

Addressing a function, Airport Manager Anwar Zia said that during the current year, four more airlines would be launched in addition to the existing seven airlines already operating from Faisalabad Airport.

He disclosed that only three domestic flights were being operated from the airport just a few years ago with annual deficit of Rs220 million.

He said that now 128 flights were operating for which the FCCI played a commendable role. He said that the sustainability of new flights was the main challenge; he faced during his professional career. “However, with the active support of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Travel Agents Association, we hammered out a comprehensive strategy. Under the strategy, corrupt employees of different departments were shunted out, in addition to providing best and international level security along with up gradation of existing passenger lounge and expansion of runway,” he said.

He claimed that now the airport had been progressing by leaps and bounds. He said that many more international airlines were planning to harvest maximum benefits from the heavy passenger load, available from the region. He said that Fly Dubai is adding 7 more flights while Turkish, Etihad, Air Blue and Saudia will also start their flights within the next couple of months.

Anwar Zia said that the airport was now generating Rs2,400 million including net profit of Rs1,600 million. He said that after the expansion of runway Boeing 777 planes could also land at the airport. Moreover, arrangements were being made for the parking and handling of 3 flights at a time, he said.

He noted that an international and a domestic lounge were under-construction on the upper story of existing terminal.  New conveyer belts were also being installed while a tunnel would be completed by November 30 to link passenger lounge directly with the boarding aeroplanes, he said. He further said that a cargo complex was also being constructed which would offer facility for the expeditious transportation of luggage to various international destinations.