Heavy Rain Causes The Ceiling To Fall In Islamabad Airport

Early on Friday morning, torrential rains over Pakistan’s capital once more caused parts of the ceiling of the new Islamabad International Airport to collapse. Despite repeat occurrences, no measures have been taken to prevent further damage. Investigations into the poor construction by the same company that partially constructed Beijing’s new Daxing Airport have yet to yield any results.

Islamabad Airport suffers damage from rain
Islamabad’s new airport has again suffered damages from heavy rainfall. Photo: Getty Images

While it has been a difficult year for aviation overall, Pakistan has been incredibly hard hit. Following the lethal crash of PIA’s Flight 8303 in Karachi in May, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) suspended 262 pilots on the grounds of “dubious” licenses. Now, poor construction and climate have conspired to collaborate on the latest setback.

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56mm of rain in 90 minutes

As a thunderstorm passed over the airport, located 20 km west of the twin-cities Islamabad-Rawalpindi, 56 mm of rain fell in less than one and a half hours. The torrential downpour caused damage to several parts of the airport, including the domestic arrival and international departure areas, as well as CIP lounges.

Several parts of the false ceiling came down as drains overflowed on the roof of the passenger terminal building. The CAA said in a statement seen by Simple Flying that several options are being considered to prevent this from reoccurring – again. Some of these include adding more water pipes for quick flushing into multiple drains, or, to change the entire design of the rooftop drainage system.

Islamabad airport damaged by rain
The domestic arrivals area was affected, along with international departures and CIP lounges. Photo: Kskhh via Wikimedia Commons

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Aviation, Mr Ghulam Sarwar Khan, is expected to visit the airport on Monday to inspect the damages.

Airport only two years old

The Islamabad International Airport opened in 2018, with all operations relocating from the older Benazir Bhutto International Airport. An inquiry into the level of construction has already been going on for two years, and this is not the first time that rainwater enters the buildings. Just ahead of its inauguration, heavy rainfall caused parts of the ceiling to cave in, and as late as May and June this year saw repeat performances.

The new airport was according to all reports built by the China State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC). The company is, as the name hints, owned by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. It is also the largest construction company in the world by revenue.

Daxing is Beijings new airport
The same construction company participated in the building of Beijing’s new Daxing Airport. Photo: 王之桐 Wikimedia Commons

Built several airports

Within China, it has built, among many others, Tesla’s Giga Shanghai factory and the 492 meters tall Shanghai World Financial Center skyscraper. The company has also constructed Xianyang Aiport in Xi’an, Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, Taoxian Airport in Shenyang, as well as participated in the construction of Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport.

Outside of China, the CSCEC has built dams in Thailand and Iraq, stadiums in Ethiopia, Barbados, and Pakistan, as well as renovated a bridge and built subway ventilation shafts in New York. Somewhat ironically, the company also constructed the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai.

Do you think this will be the last time water enters the new airport, or will we see more of the same come next heavy rainfall? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. 

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