Allama Iqbal International Airport

Allama Iqbal International Airport (Urdu: علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا‎, IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is the third-largest civil airport by traffic in Pakistan, serving Lahore, the capital of Punjab province and the second-largest city of Pakistan. It also serves a large portion of the travellers from the other regions of Punjab province. Originally known as Lahore International Airport, it was renamed after the poet-philosopher Allama Iqbal, one of the pioneers that led to the creation of Pakistan.

Imran Khan International Airport Lahore

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) Logo.png
بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Airport typePublic
OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority
LocationLahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Hub for
Elevation AMSL698 ft / 213 m
Coordinates31°31′17″N 74°24′12″E / 31.52139°N 74.40333°E / 31.52139; 74.40333Coordinates: 31°31′17″N 74°24′12″E / 31.52139°N 74.40333°E / 31.52139; 74.40333
Location of airport in Lahore , Pakistan
Location of airport in Lahore , Pakistan
LHE/OPLA is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Location of airport in Lahore , Pakistan
LHE/OPLA is located in Pakistan
LHE/OPLA (Pakistan)
LHE/OPLA is located in South Asia
LHE/OPLA (South Asia)
LHE/OPLA is located in Middle East
LHE/OPLA (Middle East)
LHE/OPLA is located in Asia
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18R/36L 8,999 2,743 Asphalt
18L/36R 11,024 3,360 Concrete
Statistics (2017-18)
Aircraft movements37, 547 Increase 5.6%
Cargo handled105,019 metric tons
Source: World Aero Data DAFIF[1][2]
Statistics from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority[3]

The airport has three terminals: the Allama Iqbal terminal, the Hajj terminal and a cargo terminal. The airport is about 15 km from the centre of the city. Expansion work of airport started in 2018; it is to increase the terminal, car parking space and passenger capacity to 25 million.


Post independenceEdit

At the time of the Independence of Pakistan, Walton Airport was the main airport of Lahore. When Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) acquired its first Boeing 720 Walton was unable to handle the load of a jet aircraft. The Government of Pakistan decided to build a brand new airport, which opened in 1962.[citation needed] The airport had a specifically built runway and apron to handle aircraft up to the Boeing 747. This allowed Lahore to open its gates to the world.[4] PIA initiated direct flights to Dubai and London via Karachi.

AIIA TerminalEdit

Over the course of the next twenty five years the demand for air travel rose. It meant that the government had to build a bigger terminal to meet the growing needs of the region. In March 2003, a new terminal was inaugurated by President General Pervez Musharraf originally commissioned by then ex prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The airport was named Allama Iqbal International Airport and became the second largest airport in Pakistan after Jinnah International Airport in Karachi. All flights were switched to the new airport and the old airport was passed onto the military. However, the government later reclaimed the airport from the military and developed it into a Hajj terminal.

The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority awarded the main contract to Airsys ATM, leader of a consortium with J&P Overseas Ltd, an international building and civil engineering contractor. Airsys ATM is a joint project from Thomson-CSF Airsys and Siemens, dedicated to air traffic management systems and airport development. The Airports Group in the UK was also awarded a $70m contract for airport systems construction. The project was implemented by a consortium of Joannou & Paraskevaides (J&P), responsible for civil and building works, and the Airports Group, responsible for the systems implementation. Airsys ATM and Thales ATM were responsible for the fabrication and installation of the air bridges at the new terminal.

In 2008, the national flag carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways, opened a dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore. The state-of-the-art facility is used for day-to-day technical line maintenance on Etihad aircraft, including hydraulic structural and instrument checks.[5]

Expansion plansEdit

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has planned the expansion of terminal building and number of gates will be increased from 7 to 22, with a corresponding increase in remote bays. This will increase the annual passenger capacity of Lahore Airport from 6 million to 20 million which will be sufficient to cater the passenger load for next 15 to 20 years.

The new design of Lahore Airport Expansion Project has inspiration from the national flower of Pakistan, Jasmine or locally known as "Chambeli". Airport will have 4 arms similar to 4 platters of Jasmine flower. Original building has Mughal architectural features but new airport will have blend of Spanish and Mughal Architecture.

Gates in the main terminal building will be increased from seven to twenty two. The present terminal building will not be demolished but will be expanded. The current parking area will be converted to arrival and departure lounges. Square lawn in front of airport will be converted to round shape 3-storey car parking area. It will be ensured that car parking space is sufficient to serve in the peak hours.

The design of the airport was developed by GilBartolomé Architects[6] from Spain, following a contract awarded to international Spanish Firm, TYSPA International,[7] which firm also worked on expanding the Madrid and São Paulo Airports. A Chinese firm, the China Construction Third Engineering Bureau, has been awarded the contract, worth US$382 million (RMB 2.6 billion CNY), to carry out the construction work.[8] During the expansion of the airport, nearby road networks will also be improved, which will help to ease traffic congestion on the roads leading to Lahore Airport.


The information below is correct as of April 2015 in regard to the AIIA Terminal.[9]


  • Separate domestic & international departure lounges. (Capacity 1,200 passengers each).
  • Separate men's and women's prayer rooms in both domestic & international lounges.
  • One business class lounge (international departures).
  • PTCL & Card-operated telephones (PCOs) are available within the lounges.
  • Several duty-free shops including food and drink counters.
  • Free internet Wi-Fi access.
  • The Elbow Room (Coffee & Bakery snacks)
  • Traditional Pakistani Sweets counters
  • The Club Lounge (Premium Lounge Facility)


  • 7 air bridges with PSS & APSS facilities.
  • 23 remote parking stands.


  • Two parallel runways one concrete the other asphalt.
  • Runway 36R/18L: 3,360 meters long, 46 meters wide. Max capacity: Boeing 747.
  • Runway 36L/18R: 2,743 meters long, 46 meters wide. Max capacity: Boeing 747.
  • Parallel taxi way for rapid entry/exit.
  • Instrument Landing System Category-II. ILS CAT-III on RWY 36R.[10]
  • Navigational Aids: DVOR/DME/TDME, NDB, OM, MM

Airport servicesEdit

  • Pakistan State Oil provide fuel services to all airlines flying out of the airport. (Jet A-100)
  • Fire fighting and Rescue Services. Category: 9
  • FIDS systems located in the lounges and briefing concourses showing television programmes and flight information.
  • Airport Mosque, with five times daily and Jummah prayers, located outside the airport left hand side of the terminal building.
  • CAA Porter services and Metro cab services are available.
  • Custom and Immigration for international flights.
  • Cargo and luggage wrapping services.
  • Passenger assistance services (upon request).
  • ATMs provided by MCB and Habib Bank Limited. The MCB ATM is linked to MasterCard; the Habib Bank is linked to VISA and MasterCard. Both are linked to China UnionPay and to the domestic 1LINK, MNET and PayPak switches. Standard Chartered Bank also offers two offsite ATMs within 1 km radius of the airport.
  • Nirala Sweets and Dunkin Donuts counters located landside of terminal.

Ground handling agentsEdit

  • Pakistan International Airlines.
  • Shaheen Airport Services (SAPS).
  • Royal Airport Services (RAS).
  • Gerry's Dnata Ground Handling & Cargo.


  • Airfield Restrictions: None

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Allama Iqbal International Airport connects Lahore with many cities worldwide (including domestic destinations) by both passenger and cargo flights.


Air ArabiaRas Al Khaimah
airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai-International, Jeddah, Karachi, Sharjah
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou,[11] Ürümqi
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Flynas Jeddah, Riyadh
Gulf Air Bahrain
Jazeera Airways Kuwait
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Mahan Air Mashhad, Tehran-Imam Khomeini
Malindo AirKuala Lumpur–International
Oman AirMuscat
Pakistan International AirlinesAbu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Islamabad, Jeddah, Karachi, Medina, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh, Salalah, Toronto–Pearson
Seasonal: Multan
Qatar AirwaysDoha
SaudiaRiyadh, Jeddah
SaudiGulf AirlinesDammam
Serene AirKarachi, Quetta, Islamabad
SriLankan AirlinesColombo-Bandaranaike
Thai AirwaysBangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul
Uzbekistan AirwaysTashkent


DHL Aviation Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bagram[12]
FitsAir Colombo
Maximus Air Cargo Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International
MNG Airlines Abu Dhabi, Kabul
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha
SriLankan CargoColombo–Bandaranaike
TCS Couriers Dubai–International, Karachi
YTO Cargo Airlines Lanzhou[13]


The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Lahore in terms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements, cargo and mail. Please note that Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan operates with fiscal years starting on July and ending in June of next year. The results were collected from the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan website.:[14]

Fiscal Year Aircraft movements Passengers (Intl & Domestic) Cargo handled (M. Tons) Mail handled (M. Tons)
2006 30,991 2,779,223 66,643 1,582
2007 29,298 3,018,220 75,816 1,713
2008 30,299 3,217,844 76,030 1,113
2009 24,804 3,506,262 84,798 1,739
2010 31,093 3,459,211 80,308 1,449
2011 30,592 3,680,436 77,057 1,544
2012 31,498 4,122,009 91,015 1,121
2013 29,942 4,529,682 89,376 1,348
2014 29,896 4,606,767 83,715 250
2015 34,619 4,876,129 88,750 239
2016 38,924 4,989,462 98,254 302
2017 39,228 5,031,857 105,019 261
Busiest routes at Allama Iqbal International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
Rank City Country Number of flights Airlines
1 Karachi   Pakistan 61 airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
2 Jeddah   Saudi Arabia 33 airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
3 Dubai   United Arab Emirates 26 airblue, Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines
4 Abu Dhabi   United Arab Emirates 22 airblue, Etihad Airways, Pakistan International Airlines
5 Doha   Qatar 21 Qatar Airways
6 Islamabad   Pakistan 17 Pakistan International Airlines
7 Muscat   Oman 16 Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines
8 Dammam   Saudi Arabia 12 Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, SaudiGulf Airlines
9 Riyadh   Saudi Arabia 10 Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
10 Kuwait City   Kuwait 09 Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Airways

Awards and recognitionsEdit

  • Allama Iqbal International Airport was ranked the world's leading airport by Singapore Airlines in service performance in 2006.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Airport information for OPLA at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
  2. ^ Airport information for LHE at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective October 2006).
  3. ^ Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority "Airport Statistics" (PDF).
  4. ^ "Thanks For Your Vote of Confidence - PIA Advertisement - History of PIA - Forum". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Etihad Airways opens dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore Pakistan". Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Allama Iqbal Airport Expansion (Under construction)". GilBartolome Architects. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  7. ^ "TYPSA designs the new Lahore airport in Pakistan - TYPSA". TYPSA::Consulting Engineers and Architects. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  8. ^ Us, Contact; Advertisement; Disclaimer; Scholarship; Policy, Privacy; Us, About; UrduPoint; News, Urdu; Live TV, Mobile Prices; Cooking, Urdu; Names, Islamic; Urdu, English to; Urdu, Horoscope in; Poetry, Urdu; Medic, Russian Ex-Spy Skripal Under Close; Clashes, Nine Palestinians Injured During; Medic, Russian Ex-Spy Skripal Under Close; Medic, Russian Ex-Spy Skripal Under Close. "Chinese Company Contracted To Build Pakistans Largest Airport". Pakistan Point. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) The official website to AIIA
  10. ^ Editor, T. N. S. (11 January 2015). "Fogbound losses". TNS - The News on Sunday. Retrieved 17 February 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  11. ^ "China Southern resumes Guangzhou – Lahore in March 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  12. ^ DHL and Etihad Cargo increase connectivity through the Middle East Archived 5 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "New cargo air service links Lahore, Lanzhou in NW China". The Nation. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  14. ^ Statistical Information of CAA Pakistan Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine CAA Pakistan, assessed 8 March 2009
  15. ^ "Allama Iqbal International Airport Tops in Services - History of PIA - Forum". Retrieved 17 February 2019.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Allama Iqbal International Airport at Wikimedia Commons