The passengers and their relatives at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA), which services the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, suffer due to the absence of adequate facilities.
The lack of facilities at the airport is not only causing inconvenience for the visitors but it is tarnishing the country’s image at international level.
There is no parking area for motorbikes and the visitors at the waiting place complain of shortage of toilet facility, where they have to often wait for hours due to non-reliable Pakistan International Airline’s (PIA) service.
Even though the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has sufficient budget to provide facilities to the public, it seems to have little interest in improving its condition.
A survey conducted by Sleeping in Airports ranked BBIA on ninth number on a list of the world’s ten worst airports in 2015.
Shahid Ahmed, who was waiting at the airport to welcome his brother coming from Dubai, told Pakistan Today that it is really shocking to note that despite being an international airport, it has lack of basic facilities at its waiting place.
He said that it has only four toilets, two each for men and women, and one has to wait in queue which is quite embarrassing. The visitor said that it is unfortunate that the CAA has failed to provide clean toilets to the visitors so how can one expect of them to provide better facilities to the passengers.
Dawood, who was coming from UAE, said that they were kept for hours at the airport on Monday, as the authority does not have necessary equipments to get their luggage from the airplane because of rain. The passengers, especially women, started shouting in the airport, resultantly.
He said that it was further embarrassing when one of the scanner machines stopped working and they were asked to go to another machine where a lot of passengers were already waiting in a queue.
Arshad Khan, whose uncle was coming from abroad, complained of the discriminatory attitude at the airport and said that the poor are not allowed to park motorcycles outside the airport while the well-to-do car owners are provided with parking facility inside the airport.
The visitor said that he was shocked to see his motorbike being lifted by the traffic police, which was parked outside the airport, where generally visitors park bikes.
Arshad said he tried to convince the traffic police officials that visitors park their bikes in the area in routine so he should not be fined but they instantly charged Rs 200 challan.
He said that first he spent hours at the flooded waiting place, as rain water accumulated there, and the rude and unfriendly behaviour of the traffic police further added fuel to fire as they were not even ready to help get the bike from the lifter and asked him to do it by himself or else get it from the police station.
When asked the traffic police official, he said that the bikes should be parked in the market far away from the airport and only the vehicle owners are allowed to park their cars in the parking lot.
The CAA official, on the condition of anonymity, told Pakistan Today that the authority is well aware of the problems facing by the passengers and their relatives. He said that the authority is making all out efforts to facilitate the passengers and their relatives and a lot of steps have already been taken in this regard.
However, he confessed that the Islamabad airport being an international airport should have all the state of the art facilities because it is not only being used by Pakistanis but the foreigners as well.