Allama Iqbal International Airport (Urdu: علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا) (IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is the second largest civil airport in Pakistan, serving Lahore, the capital of Punjab province as well a large portion of the travellers from the Punjab province. Originally known as Lahore International Airport, it was renamed after Allama Iqbal, one of the pioneers that led to the creation of Pakistan.
The airport currently has three terminals: the Allama Iqbal terminal, the Hajj terminal and a cargo terminal. The airport is located about 15 km from the centre of the city. A total of 4,724,694 passengers travelled through Allama Iqbal International Airport in 2016 making it the second busiest airport in Pakistan.
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. 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. PIA initiated direct flights to Dubai and London via Karachi.
Over the course of the next twenty five years the demand for air travel rose. It meant that the government had to build a new airport to meet the growing needs for of the region. In March 2003, a new terminal was inaugurated by 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 facility is equipped with the latest technology and equipment, which will be used for all day-to-day technical line maintenance on Etihad aircraft including hydraulic structural and instrument checks.
Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) has planned the expansion of terminal building and number of hangers will be increased from 7 to 22. This will increase the annual passenger capacity of Lahore Airport from 6 million to 20 million. This 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 National Flower, Jasmine or locally called 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.
Hangers 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 contract for design of the airport was awarded to international Spanish Firm, TYSPA International , which firm also worked on expanding the Madrid and Sao Paulo Airports. A Chinese firm, the China Construction Third Engineering Bureau, has been awarded the contract, worth $382 million (2.6 billion RMB), to carry out the construction work. 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.
LHE is fitted with all the essentials for domestic and international flights. The information below is correct as of April 2015 in regard to the AIIA Terminal.
Allama Iqbal International Airport connects Lahore with many cities worldwide (including domestic destinations) by both passenger and cargo flights.
|Air Arabia||Ras al Khaimah|
|Airblue||Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Medina, Muscat, Riyadh, Sharjah, Sialkot|
|Etihad Airways||Abu Dhabi|
|Mahan Air||Mashhad, Tehran-Imam Khomeini|
|Malindo Air||Kuala Lumpur–International|
|Pakistan International Airlines||Abu Dhabi, Barcelona, Beijing–Capital, Copenhagen, Dammam, Delhi, Doha, Dubai–International, Islamabad, Jeddah, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Medina, Milan–Malpensa, Multan, Muscat, New York–JFK (ends 31 October 2017), Oslo–Gardermoen, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Riyadh, Salalah, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto–Pearson|
|Saudia||Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina|
|Shaheen Air||Abu Dhabi, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Dammam, Dubai–International, Guangzhou, Jeddah, Karachi, Kuwait, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh|
|Taban Air||Seasonal: Mashhad|
|DHL International Aviation ME||Abu Dhabi, Bahrain|
|Emirates Sky Cargo||Dubai-Al Maktoum, Hong Kong|
|Maximus Air Cargo||Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International|
|MNG Airlines||Abu Dhabi, Kabul|
|Qatar Airways Cargo||Colombo, Doha|
|Royal Airlines Cargo||Karachi|
|Star Air Aviation||Karachi|
|TCS Couriers||Dubai–International, Islamabad, Karachi|
|Turkish Airlines Cargo||Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Istanbul–Atatürk|
The following table provides details of the major traffic flows out of Lahore in terms of passenger numbers, aircraft movements, cargo and mail. The results were collected by the Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan:
|Year||Aircraft movements||Passengers (Intl & Domestic)||Cargo handled (M. Tons)||Mail handled (M. Tons)|
Media related to Allama Iqbal International Airport at Wikimedia Commons