Allama Iqbal International Airport

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Allama Iqbal International Airport (Punjabi, Urdu: علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا, IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is the third largest civilian airport by traffic in Pakistan, after Jinnah International Airport, Karachi and Islamabad International Airport. It serves Lahore, capital of Punjab and 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. 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.[4]

Allama Iqbal International Airport

علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Airport typePublic
OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority
LocationLahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Hub forPakistan International Airlines
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
LHE/OPLA is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Location of airport in Lahore
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 (2021–22)
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]


Post independenceEdit

At the time of the Independence of Pakistan, Walton Airport was the main airport of Lahore. Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) acquired its first jet aircraft Boeing 720, Walton Airport was unable to handle the load of Boeing 720. The Government of Pakistan decided to build a brand new airport, which opened in 1962.[4] The airport had a specifically built runway and apron to handle aircraft up to the Boeing 747. This opened Lahore's gates to the world.[5] PIA initiated direct flights to Dubai and London via Karachi.[4]


New AirportEdit

Over the course of the next twenty-five years, the demand for air travel rose. 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 the 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 $70 million 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 implementation of the system. Airsys ATM and Thales ATM were responsible for the fabrication and installation of the air bridges at the new terminal.

In March 2006, PIA inaugurated nonstop services between Lahore and Toronto using Boeing 777s.[6][7] In 2008, the national flag carrier of the UAE, Etihad Airways, opened a dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility at the airport. The facility is used for day-to-day technical line maintenance on Etihad aircraft, including hydraulic structural and instrument checks.[8]

In October 2020, British Airways has resumed its direct flight operations to and from Lahore after 44 years.[9][10]

Future plansEdit

Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has planned the expansion of the terminal building and the 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 to the passenger load for the next 15 to 20 years.

The new design of the Lahore Airport Expansion Project has inspiration from the national flower of Pakistan, Jasmine or locally known as "Chambeli". The airport will have 4 arms similar to 4 platters of Jasmine flower. The original building has Mughal architectural features but the new airport will have a 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. The first phase that included the construction of the triple storey parking, in place of the front square lawn, has been complete and is now fully operational. The second phase which includes the upgradation of the main runway is underway.

The design of the airport was developed by GilBartolomé Architects[11] from Spain, following a contract awarded to international Spanish Firm, TYSPA International,[12] 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.[13] During the expansion of the airport, nearby road network has also been improved, which has helped to ease traffic congestion on the roads leading to the terminal.


LHE is fitted with all the essentials for domestic and international flights. The information below is correct as of September 2020.[14]

The new terminal (airside)
PIA 777-200LR docked on the jet-bridge.
PIA F-27 on a remote stand
Holding Lounge
Arrival Boards


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


  • Two parallel runways: one concrete, the other asphalt.
  • Runway 36R/18L: 3,360 metres long, 45 metres wide, 15 metres shoulders on both sides. Max capacity: Airbus A380.
  • Runway 36L/18R: 2,743 metres long, 46 metres wide. Max capacity: Boeing 747-400.
  • Parallel taxiway for rapid entry/exit.
  • 2 Rapid exit taxiways (Newly constructed).
  • Instrument Landing System Category-II and ILS CAT-III on RWY 36R.[15]
  • Navigational Aids: DVOR/DME/TDME, NDB, OM, MM

Airport servicesEdit

  • Pakistan State Oil provides 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 Bank Ltd, Allied Bank Ltd, National Bank of Pakistan, and Habib Bank Limited. The MCB ATM is linked to Mastercard; the ABL ATM is linked to Visa; the Habib Bank ATM is linked to Visa and Mastercard. All four are linked to China UnionPay and to the domestic 1LINK, MNET and PayPak switches. All these ATMs are also equipped with the IBFT (Interbank Funds Transfer) facility, as well as the utility bills payment facility. Standard Chartered Bank also offers two offsite ATMs within 1 km radius of the airport.
  • Full-service branches of National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Ltd, Bank Al-Falah, and Allied Bank Ltd. The first three banks also feature Islamic banking counters to facilitate those customers with Islamic accounts.
  • Pakistan Post fully-staffed location featuring Datapost™ (International express delivery), UMS (Urgent Mail Service), Same-day packet and parcel delivery (to select cities nationwide), and Post Office Savings Bank™.

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


Air Arabia Ras Al Khaimah
airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Riyadh, Sharjah
AirSial Karachi[16]
Batik Air Malaysia Kuala Lumpur–International
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
FlyBaghdad Baghdad, Najaf
Fly Jinnah[17][18] Karachi
Flynas Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh
Gulf Air Bahrain
Jazeera Airways Kuwait City
Kish Air Mashhad
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City
Mahan Air Mashhad, Tehran–Imam Khomeini
Neos Seasonal charter: Milan-Malpensa, Rome[19]
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bahrain,[20] Baku,[21] Damascus,[22] Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Gassim, Gilgit, Guangzhou,[23] Islamabad, Istanbul,[24] Jeddah, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International,[25] Kuwait City,[26] Medina, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh, Salalah, Toronto–Pearson
Qatar Airways Doha
Saudia Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh
SCAT Airlines[27]Almaty (starting soon)
Serene Air Dubai–International, Karachi, Quetta, Sharjah
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi[28]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent
Virgin Atlantic London–Heathrow[29]


DHL Aviation Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bagram[30]
Egyptair Cargo[31] Cairo
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
Turkish Cargo Istanbul
YTO Cargo Airlines Lanzhou[32]


The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Lahore in terms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements, cargo and mail. Note that the 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.:[33]

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
2018 32,304 4,490,182 87,969 190
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, AirSial, Fly Jinnah
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.[34]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Airport information for OPLA". World Aero Data. Archived from the original on 5 March 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link) 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. ^ a b c "Allama Iqbal International Airport, Lahore |". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  5. ^ "Thanks For Your Vote of Confidence – PIA Advertisement – History of PIA – Forum". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ Now fly non-stop Pakistan to Toronto in less than 14 hours! (Advertisement). Pakistan International Airlines. 3 March 2006. Archived from the original on 22 August 2022.
  7. ^ "NA (Direct flights to US could not be operated due to security hazards, NA told)". Pakistan Press International. 7 September 2006. Retrieved 24 August 2022.
  8. ^ "Etihad Airways opens dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore Pakistan". Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  9. ^ TLTP (13 October 2020). "British Airways flight lands in Lahore after 40 years". Profit by Pakistan Today. Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  10. ^ "British Airways revives destination in Pakistan after 44 years". Retrieved 14 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Allama Iqbal Airport Expansion (Under construction)". GilBartolome Architects. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
  12. ^ "TYPSA designs the new Lahore airport in Pakistan – TYPSA". TYPSA::Consulting Engineers and Architects. 21 September 2016. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Chinese Company Contracted To Build Pakistans Largest Airport". Pakistan Point. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Welcome to Allama Iqbal International Airport Lahore". Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. The official website to AIIA
  15. ^ "Fogbound losses". TNS – The News on Sunday. 11 January 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  16. ^ "AirSial expected to start operations in Pakistan next month, first plane lands in Karachi".
  17. ^ "Pakistan's low-cost airline Fly Jinnah set to commence operations after securing license". 20 October 2022.
  18. ^
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ Liu, Jim. "Pakistan International to resume Lahore – Bahrain from mid-Sep 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
  21. ^ "PIA Launches Direct Flights to Azerbaijan". 19 February 2022.
  23. ^ "Pakistan International Airlines Plans Guangzhou Launch in Jan 2023". Aeroroutes. 15 November 2022.
  24. ^ "PIA to resume Turkiye flight operations from November 14". 7 October 2022.
  25. ^ "PIA Resumes Service Between Lahore & Kuala Lumpur". 27 June 2022.
  26. ^ "PIA starts booking tickets for its Kuwait operation". 11 September 2022.
  27. ^ {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ "Thai Airways resumes direct flights".
  29. ^ "Virgin Atlantic outlines Pakistan operations from Dec 2020".
  30. ^ DHL and Etihad Cargo increase connectivity through the Middle East Archived 5 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ "Egypt Air Cargo Starting Flights for Lahore - History of PIA - Forum".
  32. ^ "New cargo air service links Lahore, Lanzhou in NW China". The Nation. 5 December 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  33. ^ Statistical Information of CAA Pakistan Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine CAA Pakistan, assessed 8 March 2009
  34. ^ "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