Shahjalal Airport: Soft opening of iconic third terminal today
The four-year construction work of the magnificent third terminal of Dhaka airport was wrapped up yesterday.
Setting up and installation of the equipment are almost done as well.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to make a soft opening of the terminal today with the slogan "connecting dreams to reality".
During the partial opening of the facility at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10:00am, Hasina will watch people use the new boarding bridge to get on board a Biman flight.
"Around 10 percent of the work remains to be done. Integration, calibration, and testing of the equipment will start after the soft launch to make the third terminal building fully operational," Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman, chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh told The Daily Star.
From today, 10 to 12 planes will be able to park at the new apron, and travellers will be able to use the third terminal by the end of next year, said Abdul Malek, chief engineer at CAAB.
The work in the final stretch is known in the aviation industry as Operational Readiness and Airport Transfer (ORAT) and it will take almost a year, he said, adding that a Japanese firm has been appointed for the task.
A team of 40 consultants will oversee ORAT and train the workforce to operate the equipment.
Around 6,000 employees and officials will be needed to run the third terminal.
Travellers using the two current terminals often complain of poor luggage handling and misconduct by airport officials.
The CAAB chairman said the new terminal will have services and equipment "we never had before. Passengers will appreciate them."
Terminal-3 will be operated and maintained by a Japanese company under a public private partnership, he added.
Bangladesh's prospect of becoming an international aviation hub will get brighter as around 15 foreign carriers have already expressed interest in operating flights from Dhaka.
HISIA's two terminals can handle eight million passengers a year, which is not enough.
The number of passengers using the HSIA is expected to reach 14 million by 2025 and 24.8 million by 2035. Around 24 million people will be able to use the HSIA when the new terminal is fully operational.