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Benazir Bhutto International Airport
Islamabad International Airport
بینظیر بھٹو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈہ
Benazir Intl Islamabad.jpg
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan
Serves Islamabad
Location Rawalpindi, Punjab
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 1,688 ft / 508 m
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 3,287 10,785 Asphalt
Sources: AIP Pakistan[1] and DAFIF[2][3]

The Benazir Bhutto International Airport بینظیر بھٹّو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈہ (IATA: ISBICAO: OPRN) is the third-largest airport in Pakistan, serving the capital Islamabad and its twin city Rawalpindi in the province of Punjab. Previously known as the Islamabad International Airport, it was renamed after the late Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yusuf Raza Gillani on Friday, 21 June, 2008.[4]

The airport is actually located outside of Islamabad, in the area of Chaklala Rawalpindi. Being the main airport for the Pakistani capital it often hosts officials and citizens from other nations. The airfield is shared with the transport and liaison squadrons of the Pakistan Air Force, which refers to it as PAF Base Chaklala.

Due to the ever-growing need for better facilities and services available for passengers, The Government of Pakistan is constructing a new airport in Islamabad. It has been estimated that the airport will be the biggest in Pakistan. The new location of the Islamabad International Airport has been selected at Fateh Jang (or at Tarnol, as reported by other sources[5]), nearly 5 km from Islamabad. The construction of the new airport is underway and completion is estimated to be in 2010. In fiscal year 2007-2008, over 4.8 million passengers used Benazir Bhutto International Airport. 49,775 aircraft movements were registered. The airport serves as a hub for the flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. It is also the hub of Shaheen Air International and a focus city of Airblue.



The international baggage claim area, photographed 2006.

Benazir Bhutto International Airport is a civil and military airport which handles VIPs as well as public scheduled operations for many airlines. Foreign diplomats, high government officials as well as military officials are welcomed at this airport. The Rawal Lounge has been designated for use of these high profile personalities.[6]

There are separate lounges for international and domestic economy passengers. The domestic and international lounges have been provided with facilities that include snack bars, satellite TV, public telephones and Internet services. There are also lounges for transit passengers who may be travelling further internationally or domestically. The lounges also have designated prayer areas. The CIP lounge can be used by first and business class passengers travelling on international or domestic flights. Passengers have to be issued an airline card from the check-in staff. Currently, the airport is able to handle eleven wide body aircraft at one time, with additional five parking places for general aviation aircraft. At the moment, the airport does not have any air bridges installed, so buses take the passengers from the airport terminal to the aircraft where air stairs are used.

The airport has a wide variety of duty-free shops, restaurants, wireless Internet services and souvenir arts and crafts shops. There are numerous television monitors and mobile connecting points in the terminal to allow passengers to check flight times and recharge their phones. There are a string of financial exchange counters and commercial banks such as National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Ltd, and MCB Bank Ltd. MCB and Royal Bank of Scotland (formerly ABN AMRO) have also launched ATMs that are linked to the global MasterCard, Cirrus and Maestro networks. To meet safety and health issues, the airport has also newly opened "Smoke Zones" within the lounge facilities. These are designated glass smoke boxes where passengers are allowed to smoke. The smoke is sucked out using the air conditioning so no smoke armours remain or spread within the airport lounges. The design is similar to the ones seen at various international airports.

Airlines and destinations

Airblue A321 at Benazir Bhutto International Airport.
A British Airways Boeing 777 being prepared for a flight to London Heathrow. BA suspended operations to Islamabad in 2008.
Airlines Destinations
Airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Karachi, Manchester, Sharjah
China Southern Airlines Urümqi
Emirates Dubai
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Gulf Air Bahrain
Kam Air Kabul
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan Airlines Bishkek
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Amsterdam, Bahawalpur, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Barcelona, Beijing-Capital, Birmingham, Chitral, Copenhagen, Dammam, Dera Ghazi Khan, Dera Ismail Khan, Doha, Dubai, Frankfurt, Gilgit, Hong Kong, Hyderabad, Istanbul-Atatürk, Jeddah, Kabul, Karachi, Kathmandu, Kuwait, Lahore, Leeds/Bradford, London-Heathrow, Manchester, Milan-Malpensa, Multan, Muscat, Nawabshah, Oslo-Gardermoen, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Peshawar, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Riyadh, Skardu, Sukkur, Tokyo-Narita, Toronto-Pearson, Zhob
Qatar Airways Doha
Saudi Arabian Airlines Dammam, Jeddah, Madinah, Riyadh
Shaheen Air International Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Doha, Dubai, Karachi, Kuwait
Royal Airlines Dubai
Thai Airways International Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi


Airlines Destinations
Reem Air Sharjah
Royal Airlines Cargo
Star Air
TCS Couriers Dubai, Karachi, Lahore, London-Heathrow

Accidents and incidents

The USAF was a regular visitor to the airport, providing relief goods for the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, photographed 2005
  • On August 1 1948, a Onzeair Avro 691 Lancastrian XPP crash landed at the airport, due to poor adjustment by the foreign pilot and insecure cargo loads in the cabin causing the weight to alter causing the aircraft to become unbalanced. The aircraft was written off.
  • On May 18, 1959, a PIA Vickers 815 Viscount skidded off the runway causing the aircraft to stop in a monsoon ditch. The aircraft suffered substantial damage however no crew or passengers were harmed in the accident.
  • On July 9, 1971, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger flew from the then named Islamabad International Airport to meet with Zhou Enlai of China.
  • On February 4, 1986, a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 747-200 performed a belly landing at the airport. Apparently the crew had failed to release the landing on final approach. No passengers or crew were hurt and the airport received minimal damage.
  • On February 15, 2002, Erik Audé was arrested at Benazir Bhutto International Airport(then named Islamabad International Airport) for opium possession.
  • During October 2005, Islamabad handled additional aircraft that provided aid for the affected people of Kashmir after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. The largest of these aircraft was the An-225 Myria. Virgin Atlantic Airways also operated a special relief flight to Islamabad using a Boeing 747 with 55 tonnes of aid. [7]

See also


Further reading

External links


Coordinates: 33°36′59″N 73°05′57″E / 33.61639°N 73.09917°E / 33.61639; 73.09917


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