Benazir Bhutto International Airport
Benazir Bhutto International Airport (Urdu: بینظیر بھٹو ایئر بیس, ICAO: OPRN) is a defunct airport which formerly served the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area. It was the second-largest airport by air traffic in Pakistan, until 3 May 2018 when it was replaced by the new Islamabad International Airport. Previously also known as the Islamabad International Airport, it was renamed after the late Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto in June 2008. The airport handled 4,767,860 passengers between 2015–16, compared to 3,803,060 in 2012-13.
Benazir Bhutto International Airport
بینظیر بھٹو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈے
|Owner||Pakistan Air Force|
|Operator||Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority|
|Serves||Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area|
|Opened||1930 as RAF Chaklala|
|Passenger services ceased||May 3, 2018|
|Elevation AMSL||508 m / 1,667 ft|
The airport was located in the area of Chaklala in Rawalpindi, which neighbours Islamabad. Following the establishment of the new Islamabad International Airport, the airport is no longer used for civil aviation and now forms a part of the adjoining PAF Base Nur Khan (also known as PAF Base Chaklala).
History and statisticsEdit
In the fiscal year 2008–2009, over 3,136,664 passengers used the former Benazir Bhutto International Airport and 34,025 aircraft movements were registered. The airport served as a hub for the flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. It was also the hub of Shaheen Air International and a focus city of airblue.
The government launched a Rs. 399 million project to renovate and expand the airport including the 518 by 23 m (1,700 by 75 ft) taxi way link adjacent to the lone runway of the airport. The renovation was completed by March, 2015.
The last flight to depart from this airport was PK791 operated by Pakistan International Airlines, heading for Birmingham, UK which departed at 11:39 AM PST marking the end of scheduled commercial flights to the airport.
A new airport was constructed in Fateh Jang, Attock District, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of the twin cities. It was built to replace the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport in response to increasing air traffic and passenger load. It is now completed, and has become the first greenfield airport in Pakistan and the first to support the landing of Airbus A380. Built on an area of 3,289 acres, the project consisted of 90 check-in counters and a parking facility for 2,000 vehicles and will cater to upward of 10 million people every year in its first phase and up to 25 million in the second phase. The terminal includes 15 gates with ten remote gates, a four-star hotel, duty-free shops, two runways, six taxiways, food court and 42 immigration counters. The airport is connected to Islamabad via the Kashmir Highway and Rawalpindi via the GT Road. The Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus is also being expanded to connect the airport with the metropolitan area. The airport was opened for commercial flight operations on 3 May 2018.
Benazir Bhutto International Airport was a civil and military airport which handles VIPs as well as public scheduled operations for many airlines. Foreign diplomats, high level government officials, as well as military officials are welcomed at this airport.
The airport was only able to handle eleven wide body aircraft at one time, with additional five parking places for general aviation aircraft. It could not accommodate large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 747-8. This airport does not have any air bridges installed, so buses took the passengers from the airport terminal to the aircraft where air stairs are used.
Since the airport was built on an airbase, the Pakistan Air Force has taken ownership of the apron and old terminal building of the airfield in a similar fashion to when Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport moved its terminals.
The runway is expected to remain in use by the PAF in the near future and VIPs and other dignitaries will continue to use the airbase instead of Islamabad International Airport.
General aviation by private companies is also expected to continue to use this airport instead of the new Islamabad International Airport.
Accidents and incidentsEdit
- On 28 July 2010, Airblue Flight 202, a domestic flight from Karachi operated by Airbus A321 AP-BJB, crashed into the Margalla Hills in Islamabad while trying to land at the airport. The aircraft crashed into mountainous and wooded terrain near the city, killing all 152 people on board.
- On 20 April 2012, a Boeing 737-200 (AP-BKC), Bhoja Air Flight 213 Karachi's Jinnah International Airport destined for Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport crashed near Chaklala, killing all 127 people on board.
- "PM names Islamabad Airport as Benazir Bhutto International Airport - GEO.tv". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- caapakistan.com.pk – Major Traffic Flows By Airport During The Year 2008–09 Archived 13 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- Iftikhar A. Khan. "Islamabad airport set to get a new look". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
- webdesk (22 March 2015). "'Rs399m spent on renovation, expansion of Islamabad airport'".
- "New Islamabad International Airport to be operational from May 3: official". www.geo.tv. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
- Ground breaking ceremony of new Islamabad airport likely in April, Business Recorder (Pakistan's Financial Daily Newspaper), 2005-03-03.
- CAA initiates $300m new Islamabad airport (NIIA), Pakistan Link Headline News, 2006-01-07.
- CAA initiates $300m new Islamabad airport project, The News Business Section, 2006-01-07.
- New Islamabad International Airport ready for ground breaking Ceremony, PakTribune, 2006-02-07.
- Turkish Airlines wants to operate daily flights to Karachi, The News, 2007-07-10.
- Progress in THY's Pakistan flights, Turkish Daily News, 2007-07-19.
Media related to Benazir Bhutto International Airport at Wikimedia Commons