Allama Iqbal International Airport

Allama Iqbal International Airport

علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Airport type Public
Operator Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
Serves Lahore
Location Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 698 ft / 213 m
Coordinates 31°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
Location of airport in Pakistan
LHE (Pakistan)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18R/36L 8,999 2,743 Asphalt
18L/36R 11,024 3,360 Concrete
Statistics (2016-17)
Passengers 4,923,268
Passenger change 0.95%
Aircraft movements 32,114 0.6%
Cargo handled 96,716 metric tons
Source: World Aero Data DAFIF[1][2]
Statistics from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority[3]

Allama Iqbal International Airport (Urdu: علامہ اقبال بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا) (IATA: LHE, ICAO: OPLA) is the third largest civil airport by traffic 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. Expansion work of airport started in 2018, it will increase terminal, car parking space and passenger capacity to 25 million.


Post independence

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.[4] PIA initiated direct flights to Dubai and London via Karachi.

AIIA Terminal

Over the course of the next twenty five years the demand for air travel rose. It meant that the government had to build a bigger terminal to meet the growing needs for 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 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.[5]

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.[6]

Expansion plans

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 which 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 the national flower of Pakistan, Jasmine or locally known 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,[7] 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 $382 million (2.6 billion RMB), to carry out the construction work.[8] 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.[9]

  • Separate domestic & international departure lounges. (Capacity 1,200 passengers each).
  • Separate men's and women's prayer rooms in both domestic & international lounges.
  • One business class lounge (international departures).
  • PTCL & Card-operated telephones (PCOs) are available within the lounges.
  • Several duty-free shops including food and drink counters.
  • Free internet Wi-Fi access.
  • The Elbow Room (Coffee & Bakery snacks)
  • Traditional Pakistani Sweets counters
  • The Club Lounge (Premium Lounge Facility) *Payed
  • 7 air bridges with PSS & APSS facilities.
  • 23 remote parking stands.
  • Two parallel runways one concrete the other asphalt.
  • Runway 36R/18L: 3,360 meters long, 46 meters wide. Max capacity: Boeing 747.
  • Runway 36L/18R: 2,743 meters long, 46 meters wide. Max capacity: Boeing 747.
  • Parallel taxi way for rapid entry/exit.
  • Instrument Landing System Category-II. ILS CAT-III on RWY 36R.


  • Navigational Aids: DVOR/DME/TDME, NDB, OM, MM
Airport Services
  • Pakistan State Oil provide 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 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 and Habib Bank Limited. The MCB ATM is linked to MasterCard; the Habib Bank is linked to VISA. Both are linked to China UnionPay and to the domestic 1LINK and MNET switches.
  • Nirala Sweets and Dunkin Donuts counters located landside of terminal.
Ground Handling Agents
  • Pakistan International Airlines.
  • Shaheen Airport Services (SAPS).
  • Royal Airport Services (RAS).
  • Gerry's Dnata Ground Handling & Cargo.
  • Airfield Restrictions: None

Airlines and destinations

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
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou [11], Ürümqi [12]
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Flynas Dammam, Riyadh[13]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Jazeera Airways Kuwait
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Mahan Air Mashhad, Tehran-Imam Khomeini [14]
Malindo Air Kuala Lumpur–International
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Barcelona,[15] Beijing–Capital, Copenhagen, Dammam, Delhi, Dera Ghazi Khan(suspended), Dubai–International, Islamabad, Jeddah, Karachi, London–Heathrow, Manchester, Medina, Milan–Malpensa, Multan, Muscat, Oslo–Gardermoen, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Riyadh[16] Tokyo–Narita, Toronto–Pearson
Qatar Airways Doha
Saudia Riyadh, Jeddah, Medina
SaudiGulf Airlines Dammam
Serene Air Karachi, Quetta
Shaheen Air Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Dubai–International, Guangzhou, Jeddah, Karachi, Kuwait, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh, Sharjah
SriLankan Airlines Colombo
Taban Air Seasonal: Mashhad
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk
Uzbekistan Airways Tashkent[17]


DHL Aviation
operated by DHL International Aviation ME
Abu Dhabi, Bagram, Bahrain[18]
FitsAir Colombo
Maximus Air Cargo Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International
MNG Airlines Abu Dhabi, Kabul
Qatar Airways Cargo 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:[19]

YearAircraft movementsPassengers (Intl & Domestic)Cargo handled (M. Tons)Mail handled (M. Tons)
2001 26,518 2,600,000 52,612 N/A
2005 27,716 5,157,354 N/A N/A
2006 43,775 3,189,161 79,894 680.16
2007 39,634 3,091,590 74,664 1,683.79
2008 49,491 3,192,904 75,965 1,113.41
2016 34,015 4,724,694 81,148 N/A

Awards and recognitions

  • Allama Iqbal International Airport was ranked the world's leading airport by Singapore Airlines in service performance in 2006.[20]

See also


  1. Airport information for OPLA at World Aero Data. 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. Pictorial history of Lahore Airport.
  5. Allama Iqbal International Terminal Under Construction
  6. "Etihad Airways opens dedicated aircraft line maintenance facility in Lahore Pakistan". Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. The official website to AIIA
  10. PIA fogbound losses. Lahore to be upgraded to CAT III
  12. Liu, Jim (18 March 2018). "China Southern adds plans Lahore launch from late-June 2018". Routesonline. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  13. "flynas plans Pakistan launch in Feb 2018". airlineroute. January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
  15. "PIA advertisement promoting Barcelona resumption". Archived from the original on 14 October 2016.
  16. 2017, UBM (UK) Ltd. "Pakistan International W16 International route additions".
  17. "Uzbekistan Airways resumed flights from Tashkent to Lahore".
  18. DHL and Etihad Cargo increase connectivity through the Middle East Archived 5 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Statistical Information of CAA Pakistan Archived 19 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine. CAA Pakistan, assessed 8 March 2009
  20. Allama Iqbal International Airport Tops In Services


  • ^a Pakistan International's flight from New York to Lahore is nonstop, however the flight from Lahore to New York makes a stopover in Manchester (UK), where the airline has fifth freedom rights to board passengers to New York.

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