Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport

Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (Persian: فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی‎, Forudgah-e Beynolmelali-ye Emam Khomeini) (IATA: IKA, ICAO: OIIE), is the primary international airport of Tehran, the capital city of Iran, located 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Tehran, near the localities of Robat Karim and Eslamshahr and spread over an area of 13,500 hectares (33,000 acres) of land. Along with Mehrabad International Airport, Imam Khomeini Airport is one of the two international airports serving Tehran. All international flights in Tehran, with the exception of Hajj charters, are currently served by this airport, and all domestic flights are served by Mehrabad Airport. IKA ranks third in terms of total passenger traffic in Iran after Tehran Mehrabad Airport and Mashhad Airport. The airport is operated by the Iran Airports Company and is the primary operating base for Iran Air and Mahan Air.

Imam Khomeini
International Airport

فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی تهران
IKIA Logo 1.png
Tehran IKIA at Night.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerGovernment of Iran
OperatorImam Khomeini Airport City
ServesTehran metropolitan area
LocationAhmadabad, Tehran, Iran
Opened8 May 2004 (17 years ago) (2004-05-08)
Hub for
Time zoneIRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST)IRDT (UTC+04:30)
Elevation AMSL3,305 ft / 1,007 m
Coordinates35°24′58″N 051°09′08″E / 35.41611°N 51.15222°E / 35.41611; 51.15222Coordinates: 35°24′58″N 051°09′08″E / 35.41611°N 51.15222°E / 35.41611; 51.15222
IKA is located in Iran
Location within Iran
IKA is located in Middle East
IKA (Middle East)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11L/29R 13,772 4,198 Asphalt
13,940 4,249 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft Movements58,123 Increase 9%
Passengers8,852,232 Increase 13%
Cargo (t)163,699 Increase 11%


Early planningEdit

Construction of the airport began prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution. The original designers were Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton (TAMS), an American engineering and architectural consulting partnership. A local joint venture was formed between TAMS and local firm Abdol Aziz Farmanfarmaian Associates called TAMS-AFFA, to carry out the full design and supervision of construction. The original design of the airport was going to be similar to D.F.W. airport. Following the Iranian revolution, however, the project was abandoned until the government of Iran decided to design and build the airport using local expertise.


French firm ADP was selected to head the local designers and engineering firms. A turnkey design and build contract was awarded to a local general contractor company, Kayson Co., to carry out and manage the construction. After two years this contract was abandoned and was awarded to a bonyad, the Mostazafan Foundation.[2]

Initial openingEdit

Tehran's Imam Khomeini Int'l Airport Control Tower
Iran Air Airbus A300, being refuelled at Imam Khomeini International Airport.

After construction of Terminal 1 was completed by the Mostazafan Foundation, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization decided to turn the management of operations along with the construction of the second terminal to the TAV (Tepe-Akfen-Vie) consortium consisting of two Turkish (Tepe and Akfen) and an Austrian (Vie) companies. The original opening was scheduled for 11 February 2004, the onset of the auspicious "Ten-Day Dawn" (1–11 February) celebrations, marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. There were numerous issues surrounding the construction of the airport including the supply of fuel to the new airport, and a delay in signing a deal with the Iranian oil ministry forced a delay in the opening of the airport until 8 May 2004.

Just prior to the opening on 8 May, two local airlines refused to switch to the new airport. Economic Hayat-e No daily quoted Ali Abedzadeh, director of semi-privately owned Iran Aseman Airlines, as saying "We are not flying from an airport run by foreigners." TAV officials were ordered to withdraw their personnel and equipment from the airport on 7 May 2004, and operations were handed over to Iran Air. "I think they (the armed forces) were given false reports that the Turks were still on the site, while they had all evacuated the airport by Friday," airport manager Hossein Pirouzi said. However, on 8 May, a few hours after the opening of airport, the Revolutionary Guards of the Iranian Armed Forces closed it, citing security fears over the use of foreigners in the running of the airport. Only one Emirates flight from Dubai was allowed to land. The second flight from Dubai, which was an Iran Air flight, was forced to land in Isfahan International Airport, because the Mehrabad Airport did not allow it to land there after the Imam Khomeini airport was closed by the armed forces. The rest of the flights were diverted to Mehrabad. On 11 May, in a meeting of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, the Turkish expressed unease about the actions of the Iranian armed forces. The airport reopened on 13 May, as deputy head of Iran's Joint Chiefs of staff Brigadier-General Alireza Afshar stated "because foreign companies will no longer be in charge of the airport's operation, security obstacles are removed."

Second openingEdit

Mahan Air Airbus A340s parked at IKIA.
The Emirates Airbus A380 saluted by traditional water cannon ceremony In Imam Khomeini Int'l Airport, 2014

In April 2005 the $350 million Imam Khomeini International Airport was reopened under the management of a consortium of four local airlines—Mahan Air, Aseman, Caspian Airlines and Kish Air—although no formal contract appeared to have been awarded. Soon later management of the airport was transferred to the Iran Airports Company which in behalf of Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation is in charge of operating all civil and governmental Iranian airports except some belonging to special organizations like Oil ministry or Armed Forces.

Final openingEdit

On 26 October 2007, it was announced that as of 28 October 2007 at midnight, all international flights except those bound to and from Damascus, Jeddah and Medina were transferred to the Imam Khomeini International Airport and the IKA became Tehran's primary international airport. In 2016, as a result of worsening ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, all Hajj flights from Iran were terminated, rendering IKA the only international gateway to Tehran.[3] Hajj flights resumed in 2017.[4]

Post-nuclear sanctions temporary boomEdit

Subsequent to the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions in mid January 2016, Air France resumed flights to the Iranian capital after having suspended them in 2008. On 17 April 2016,[5] Air Asia resumed Tehran services by offering direct flights from Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur to Tehran after having suspended them in 2012. These flights were subsequently canceled in 2017 and 2018.

Furthermore, various other airlines including Austrian, Alitalia, British Airways,[6] KLM, China Southern Airlines[7] and Thai Airways[8] either resumed or ramped up frequency of their flights to Tehran. Nevertheless, some of these routes proved not profitable, resulting in the cancellation of Tehran routes by KLM, British Airways and Air France effective September 2018.[9][10]


Passenger terminalsEdit

As of June 2019, IKIA has two active terminals.

Terminal 1Edit

Terminal 1, IKIA's first active terminal, has a total annual handling capacity of 6.5 million passengers and 120,000 tonnes of cargo. In 2017, it handled nearly 9 million passengers.[11]

Salaam Terminal (Terminal 2)Edit

Salaam Terminal, IKIA Second Active Terminal, has a capacity of 5 million passengers per year. While originally intended as a dedicated pilgrimage terminal, according to Iran's former Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi, it will be open to all varieties of flights.[11]

Iranshahr Terminal (Terminal 3)Edit

IKIA's proposed third terminal, called the Iranshahr Terminal, is currently in its planning phase. In February 2016, its development contract had been awarded to the Dutch engineering firm Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO), a subsidiary of Royal HaskoningDHV.[11] However in 2017, NACO withdrew from the contract after its failure to obtain financing due in part to US sanctions against Iran.[citation needed] The Iranshahr Terminal is planned to have a capacity of 20 million passengers per year, which would bring the airport's total passenger capacity to 30 million passengers per year.[12]


There are currently two runways at IKA of which only one is operational. The operational runway is equipped with the ILS CAT II since August 2009. A second ILS system was purchased seven years ago to serve the other runway but the selling firm refused to set it up due to sanctions against Iran. The ILS was installed by Iranian technicians.[13] A third runway positioned to the south of the existing runways and passenger terminal is in final stages of construction.


In October 2015, French corporation AccorHotels opened its Novotel and Ibis-branded hotels on the airport premises, marking the entry of the first international hotel chain into the Iranian market since the 1979 revolution.[14] The two hotels are connected to Terminal 1 by a sky bridge passing through the airport metro station.

Airlines and destinationsEdit


Aeroflot Moscow–Sheremetyevo
AnadoluJet Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen[15]
Seasonal: Ankara,[16] İzmir[17]
Armenia Airways Yerevan[18]
ATA Airlines Kazan, Najaf (suspended)
Charter: Batumi, Denizli, İzmir, Tbilisi
Austrian Airlines Vienna[19]
Bravo Airways Kyiv–Zhuliany (suspended)
Buta Airways Baku[20]
Cham Wings Airlines Damascus[21]
Emirates Dubai–International
flydubai Dubai–International
Iran Air Amsterdam, Ankara, Baghdad, Baku, Barcelona, Beirut, Cologne/Bonn, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Istanbul, Karachi, Kuwait, London–Heathrow, Madrid,[22] Milan–Malpensa, Mumbai, Najaf, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Rome–Fiumicino, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tbilisi, Vienna
Seasonal: Denizli,[23] Isparta,[24] İzmir,[25] Jeddah, Medina, Moscow–Sheremetyevo[26]
Iran Aseman Airlines Istanbul, Izmir,[27] Najaf (all suspended)
Seasonal charter: Isparta, Moscow–Vnukovo
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf, Nasiriyah
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Lufthansa Frankfurt
Mahan Air Almaty, Ankara (suspended), Baku, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital (suspended), Caracas, Damascus, Delhi (suspended), Dubai–International (suspended), Erbil (suspended), Guangzhou,[28] Istanbul (suspended), Kabul, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lahore, Moscow–Vnukovo (suspended), Najaf (suspended), Shanghai–Pudong (suspended), Shenzhen (suspended), Sulaimaniyah (suspended)
Seasonal: Athens, Casablanca, Colombo–Bandaranaike, Denizli (suspended), Denpasar/Bali, Goa, Isparta (suspended), İzmir (suspended), Larnaca, Marrakesh, Mauritius, Phuket, Saint Petersburg (suspended), Sochi (suspended), Varna (suspended)
Meraj Airlines Seasonal charter: Baghdad (suspended), Denizli (suspended), Goa, Istanbul (suspended), Najaf (suspended)
Nordwind Airlines Seasonal charter: Moscow–Sheremetyevo, Saint Petersburg (both suspended)
Oman Air Muscat
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Air Brussels, Hamburg, Istanbul, Najaf (all suspended)
Seasonal charter: Denizli (suspended), İzmir (suspended), Larnaca (suspended), Sochi (suspended), Tbilisi (suspended),[29][30] Varna, Yerevan (suspended)[29]
SalamAir Muscat (suspended)[31]
Taban Air Muscat,[32] Najaf (suspended), Tbilisi (suspended),[29][30] Yerevan[33]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul


Lufthansa Cargo[34] Frankfurt
Turkish Cargo[35] Istanbul–Atatürk
Qatar Airways Cargo[36] Doha


In 2013, the airport handled 4.756 million passengers, a 20% increase over the previous year. This made it the eleventh busiest airport by international passenger traffic in the Middle East. The airport handled 98,904 tonnes of cargo in 2013. The total number of commercial aircraft movements was 36,827 in 2013.[37]

Annual trafficEdit

Year[38] AnnualPassenger Traffic % Change
2011 5,020,836  
2012 4,735,089   6%
2013 4,756,012   0.4%
2014 6,049,062   27%
2015 7,243,120   20%
2016 7,821,369   8%
2017 8,852,232   13%
2018 6,632.493   22%
2019 5,985,954   11%
2020 1,199,678   80%

Busiest routesEdit

International Scheduled Weekly Departures From Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport (2019)
Rank Country City Number of Departures Carriers
1 Turkey Istanbul +120 AtlasGlobal, Iran Air
Mahan Air, Pegasus Airlines, Qeshm Airlines
Turkish Airlines
2 Iraq Najaf +80 ATA Airlines, Iran Air, Iran Aseman Airlines
Iraqi Airways, Mahan Air, Qeshm Airlines
Taban Airlines
3 United Arab Emirates Dubai +30 Emirates, Iran Air, Mahan Air[39]
4 Qatar Doha 20 Qatar Airways[40]
5 Iraq Baghdad +15 Iran Air, Iraqi Airways, Mahan Air[39]

Ground transportationEdit


The airport is served by the Imam Khomeini Airport Metro Station. The metro connection for IKIA was opened on 7 August 2017, as a station on the new branch of Tehran Metro Line 1. Passengers must change trains at Shahed - Bagher Shahr Metro Station to access the rest of Line 1. There are provisions for a second station serving the planned Iranshahr Terminal (Terminal 3) in the future.

High-speed railEdit

The airport is planned to be served by the Tehran-Qom-Isfahan High Speed Rail. The new link will enable direct rail access from the cities of Qom and Isfahan and a fast non-stop connection to Tehran Railway Station. The line is currently in early planning and construction phase.


Imam Khomeini Airport is accessible from Tehran by car, taxi and shuttle buses via Tehran-Qom and Tehran-Saveh freeways. Airport-operated taxis serve arriving passenger 24/7. In 2017, a typical taxi journey from the airport to the center of Tehran takes around 45 minutes which costs about 1,400,000 to 1,800,000 to Iranian rial or US$7 and are often light yellow Toyota Camry, Toyota RAV4, Volkswagen Caddy or IKCO Samand.[41]

Accidents and incidentsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Traffic Figures". Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA)". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  3. ^ Reuters (29 May 2016). "Iranian pilgrims won't attend hajj amid row with Saudi Arabia". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Hubbard, Ben (17 March 2017). "Iranian Pilgrims Can Participate in Hajj This Year, Saudi Arabia Says". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Air France plane lands in Iran for first time in 8 years - France 24". 18 April 2016.
  6. ^ "British Airways latest of several airlines to add flights To Iran". UBM (UK) Ltd. 2018.
  7. ^ "China Southern Increases Tehran Flights from April 2016". UBM (UK) Ltd. 2018.
  8. ^ Liu, Jim. "Thai Airways adds Tehran service from Oct 2016". Routesonline. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
  9. ^ "British Airways and Air France are stopping all flights to Iran, just before crushing new US sanctions kick in". Business Insider. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  10. ^ "KLM to suspend direct flights to Tehran". Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  11. ^ a b c "Update on the New IKIA Terminals, Air Astana Started Tehran Flights - Aviation Iran". 30 June 2016.
  12. ^ Vosler, Kent D. (1983). "Diving: Diving strength program at the University of Florida". National Strength & Conditioning Association Journal. 5 (6): 27. doi:10.1519/0744-0049(1983)005<0027:dspatu>2.3.co;2. ISSN 0744-0049.
  13. ^ [1] Archived 21 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "foreign hotels opeing in iran - Google Search". www.google.com.pk.
  15. ^ Liu, Jim. "Turkish Airlines confirms AnadoluJet network transition from late-March 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 14 January 2020.
  16. ^ https://www.anadolujet.com/en/corporate/news-and-annoucements/our-international-flights-updated
  17. ^ https://www.anadolujet.com/en/corporate/news-and-annoucements/our-international-flights-updated
  18. ^ "Armenia Airways announces maiden voyage with Yerevan-Tehran roundtrip flights". armenpress.am.
  19. ^ https://financialtribune.com/articles/domestic-economy/108985/austrian-airlines-will-resume-services-to-iran
  20. ^ "Buta Airways updates W17 operations". UBM (UK) Ltd. 2018.
  21. ^ chamwings.com - Where we fly retrieved 9 September 2018
  22. ^ Liu, Jim. "Iran Air plans Madrid service resumption from Sep 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  23. ^ Flightradar24. "Flightradar24.com - Live flight tracker!". Flightradar24.
  24. ^ Flightradar24. "Flightradar24.com - Live flight tracker!". Flightradar24.
  25. ^ Flightradar24. "Flightradar24.com - Live flight tracker!". Flightradar24.
  26. ^ Liu, Jim (8 March 2019). "Iran Air S19 Moscow aircraft changes". Routesonline. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
  27. ^ "Iran Aseman Airlines adds Izmir service in 1H19". Routesonline.
  28. ^ https://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/291779/mahan-air-plans-guangzhou-service-resumption-from-mid-june-2020/
  29. ^ a b c "Georgia will take measures to prevent spread of Coronavirus from Iran".
  30. ^ a b "Iran says 12 dead from new virus, rejects higher death toll".
  31. ^ https://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/289834/various-foreign-carriers-iran-service-update-as-of-24feb20/
  32. ^ Liu, Jim. "Taban Air increases Oman flights from August 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  33. ^ Liu, Jim. "Taban Air adds regular Tehran – Yerevan service from late-Sep 2020". Routesonline. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  34. ^ lufthansa-cargo.com - Routes & flight schedules retrieved 6 September 2020
  35. ^ turkishcargo.com - Flight Schedule retrieved 6 September 2020
  36. ^ "Qatar Airways Cargo". Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  37. ^ "(IKA) Imam Khomeini International Airport". Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  38. ^ IAC. "Iran Airports Company - Home". en.airport.ir.
  39. ^ a b c d "Live Flight Tracker - Real-Time Flight Tracker Map". Flightradar24.
  40. ^ "Qatar Airways expands Iran service in 1Q19". Routesonline.
  41. ^ https://www.ikac.ir/en/taxi
  42. ^ "Iranian Airliner Crashes in Northwest, Killing 168". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  43. ^ "Iran Says It Unintentionally Shot Down Ukrainian Airliner". New York Times. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  44. ^ "Ukrainian airplane with 180 aboard crashes in Iran: Fars". Reuters. 7 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.
  45. ^ "Ukrainian airliner crashes near Tehran: Iranian media". Al Jazeera. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 8 January 2020.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Imam Khomeini International Airport at Wikimedia Commons