Islamabad International Airport

Islamabad International Airport (IATA: ISB, ICAO: OPIS) is the international airport serving Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. It is located 25 km west of the city & is accessed through Srinagar Highway.

Islamabad International Airport
Logo of Islamabad International Airport.jpg
Islamabad International Airport at night.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Pakistan
OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority[1]
ServesIslamabad-Rawalpindi region
LocationIslamabad, Pakistan
Opened1 May 2018 (3 years ago) (2018-05-01)[2]
Hub for
Elevation AMSL1,761 ft / 537 m
Coordinates33°32′56.70″N 72°49′32.34″E / 33.5490833°N 72.8256500°E / 33.5490833; 72.8256500Coordinates: 33°32′56.70″N 72°49′32.34″E / 33.5490833°N 72.8256500°E / 33.5490833; 72.8256500

Location in Islamabad
ISB/OPIS is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Location of new Islamabad International Airport in Pakistan
ISB/OPIS is located in Pakistan
ISB/OPIS (Pakistan)
ISB/OPIS is located in Asia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
28L/10R 3,657.6 12,000 Asphalt
28R/10L 3,657.6 12,000 Asphalt
Statistics (2018-2019)

The airport commenced full operations in May 2018, replacing the defunct Benazir Bhutto International Airport which now forms part of the PAF Base Nur Khan.[4] It is the largest airport in Pakistan in terms of area & passenger capacity, capable of serving 9 million passengers yearly.[5] Further expansions in the future will allow it to serve up to 25 million passengers yearly. It is the second busiest airport in Pakistan in terms of passenger traffic after Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The terminal includes 15 gates with ten remote gates, duty-free shops, a food court and 42 immigration counters.[6] Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is acquiring 2,833 acres (11.46 km2 / 4.42 sq mi) of land to build a third runway. It is the first and only airport in Pakistan capable of handling the Airbus A380. A metrobus rapid transit service is being built to connect the airport with Islamabad for commuters, expected to complete in 2022.

History and detailsEdit

Early 3D visualization of the airport
Islamabad International Airport view from Parking Area.

The plan to construct a new airport was announced in January 2005 by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.[7] A land of 3,242 acres (1,312 ha) land was acquired at the cost of Rs 2.5 billion in November 2005.[8]

The construction of a new airport was planned in response to increasing air traffic and passenger loads at the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport. It was estimated that the number of passengers at the former airport was growing by 14 percent annually compared to the national air passenger growth rate of 4 percent, making it the second busiest airport in the country at the time. Therefore, a site in Ranjha, Attock district was selected as the site for the construction of a new airport just a few kilometers from the Islamabad interchange on M-1/M-2 motorways. The foundation stone of the project was laid by former President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on 7 April 2007.[9][10]

It was a project of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) and designed by French company Aéroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPi) and CPG Corporation of Singapore. The whole project was financed by PCAA on its own. It is built on more than 3,200 acres of land and consists of a passenger terminal building, 2 runways, taxiways, and apron and parking bays for wide-body aircraft. There is also a cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, fuel farm, as well as a fire, crash, and rescue facility. The site of the airport is near Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District. It is 25 km equidistant from Zero Point, Islamabad and from Saddar, Rawalpindi.[11] The airport is on par with international standards & serves as a major hub for all aviation activities in Pakistan.

The PCAA asked a team of British architects to design the new airport. PCAA signed an agreement with the Louis Berger Group in the US in association with Pakistani consulting firm GT AASR, to undertake project management services. The airport was to complete in 5 years but took 12 years to complete resulting in a 3 times increase in cost. On 1 May 2018, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi officially inaugurated the new airport.[12] This was followed up with the airport commencing full commercial flight operations on 3 May 2018 and thus replacing the old airport.

On 8 July 2018, the first Airbus A380 landed in Islamabad, arriving as Emirates flight EK-2524 from Dubai International Airport. This was the first time an Airbus A380 landed in Pakistan.[13] This test flight had no seats available to buy and the nearest country Emirates currently fly their A380 to is India.[14]

Since August 2019, Pakistan International Airlines has shifted its hub for international flights from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to Islamabad International Airport. International traffic of PIA mainly originates from the northern areas of the country due to which the national carrier decided to move most of its schedule to the capital city.[15]


Domestic Arrivals
International Departure Area
PIA's maintenance hangar located at the airport

Islamabad International Airport has a 180,000m² modular terminal building which is capable of handling 9 million passengers and 80,000 metric tons cargo per annum. The numbers are expected to reach 25 million passengers by 2024.[16] Being a new airport, a significant portion of the land has been earmarked for commercial purposes such as duty-free shops, a hotel and convention center, air malls, a business centre, food courts, and leisure and cinema facilities.

Airlines and destinationsEdit

Air Arabia Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah
airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Ras Al Khaimah , Riyadh, Sharjah
Air China Beijing–Capitala
AirSial Karachi[17]
British Airways London–Heathrow
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou, Kunming,[18] Ürümqi, Wuhan[19]
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Flynas Riyadh[20]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Kam Air Kabul
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bahawalpur, Beijing–Capital, Birmingham,[21] Chitral, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Gassim,[22] Gilgit, Jeddah, Kabul (suspended), Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International,[23] Lahore, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Medina, Multan, Muscat, Oslo, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Riyadh, Saidu Sharif, Sialkot, Skardu, Sukkur, Ta'if,[24] Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson, Xi’an[25]
Qatar Airways Doha
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh
SaudiGulf Airlines Dammam[26]
Serene Air Dubai, Karachi, Quetta, Sharjah
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish Airlines Istanbul[27]
Virgin Atlantic London–Heathrow,[28] Manchester[28]

*Notes: 1: Air China's flight from Islamabad to Beijing continues on to Jinnah International Airport (Karachi). However, Air China does not have eighth freedom rights (cabotage) to carry passengers solely from Islamabad to Karachi.


British Airways previously flew the largest aircraft in its fleet to Pakistan before the 2008 Islamabad Marriott Hotel bombing
Busiest routes at Islamabad International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
Rank City Country Number of flights Airlines
1 Karachi Pakistan 92 Airblue, AirSial, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
2 Dubai United Arab Emirates 33 Airblue, Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines
3 Jeddah Saudi Arabia 30 Airblue, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
4 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 27 Airblue, Etihad Airways, Pakistan International Airlines
5 Doha Qatar 18 Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways
6 Lahore Pakistan 17 Pakistan International Airlines
7 Quetta Pakistan 15 Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
8 Riyadh Saudi Arabia 13 Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
9 Gilgit Pakistan 12 Pakistan International Airlines
10 Muscat Oman 12 Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines

Ground transportEdit

Airport link road alongside metrobus line on Srinagar Highway

The airport is connected to Islamabad via the Srinagar Highway and Rawalpindi via the GT Road (Highway N-5). A four-lane highway is also under construction to serve cargo traffic.[29] The Islamabad Metrobus is also being expanded to connect to the airport & is expected to complete in 2022.[30] An extensive network of local buses and wagons also go to and from the Airport.[31]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "PCAA | Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority".
  2. ^ "First pictures: New Islamabad airport opens, to handle up to 25m flyers a year". 1 May 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  3. ^ "PAC warns of using 2 runways of new Islamabad Airport at a time". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  4. ^ "New Islamabad airport finally operational after years of delay". The Nation. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Islamabad International Airport - IIAP - اسلام آباد انٹرنیشنل ائیرپورٹ". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  6. ^ "New Islamabad airport: Rs3 billion allocated for road network - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 19 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  7. ^ "New Islamabad Airport to be built at Fateh Jang". The Business Recorder. Pakistan. 11 April 2005.
  8. ^ "Land for Islamabad airport acquired". The Business Recorder. Pakistan. 15 November 2007.
  9. ^ "Islamabad International Airport under construction". The News. Pakistan. 29 June 2007.
  10. ^ "President to open new airport on April 7". The News. Pakistan. 25 March 2007.
  11. ^ "New BB Airport to open in June next year: Asif Yasin". The News. Pakistan. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  12. ^ "New Islamabad airport inaugurated after years of delay - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Dubai's Emirates flies one-off A380 to Pakistan's Islamabad". Gulf Business. 8 July 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Benazir Bhutto New Islamabad International Airport, Pakistan". Airport Technology. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "China Southern revises Kunming – Islamabad launch to late-Dec 2019".
  19. ^ "China Southern Airlines launches direct Wuhan-Islamabad flights". 30 November 2020.
  20. ^ "flynas plans Pakistan launch in Feb 2018". airlineroute. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is introducing direct flights to a fifth destination, Burayda, located in northern Saudi Arabia.Route". 18 November 2020. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  23. ^ Uploader. "PIA's flight operation for Kuala Lumpur from Oct 14 | Associated Press Of Pakistan". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  24. ^ Liu, Jim. "Pakistan International adds Islamabad – Taif route from Dec 2019". Routesonline. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "SaudiGulf Airlines files proposed Pakistan service in Oct 2018". Routesonline.
  27. ^ "Istanbul's New Airport Is A Hot Beautiful Mess". One Mile at a Time. 9 April 2019.
  28. ^ a b "Virgin Atlantic outlines Pakistan operations from Dec 2020".
  29. ^ Recorder, Business. "Road network for new Islamabad Airport: Dar approves Rs 11 billion project". Business Recorder. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  30. ^ "New Metro Bus Route: Construction work gains momentum - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 13 May 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  31. ^ "Bus and wagon routes". Official airport website.