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Islamabad International Airport

Islamabad International Airport

اسلام آباد بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority[1]
ServesIslamabad-Rawalpindi region
LocationFateh Jang-43350, Punjab, Pakistan
Opened1 May 2018
(6 years ago)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL1,761 ft / 537 m
Coordinates33°32′56.70″N 72°49′32.34″E / 33.5490833°N 72.8256500°E / 33.5490833; 72.8256500
Location in Islamabad
ISB/OPIS is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Location of new Islamabad International Airport in Pakistan
ISB/OPIS is located in Pakistan
ISB/OPIS (Pakistan)
ISB/OPIS is located in Asia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
28L/10R 3,657.6 12,000 Asphalt
28R/10L 3,657.6 12,000 Asphalt
Statistics (2023)
Passengers6 million
Domestic Passengers1.5 million
International Passengers4.5 million
Aircraft movements31000
Sources of statistics: Hum News,[3] PCAA,[4]

Islamabad International Airport (Urdu: اسلام آباد بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈا) (IATA: ISB, ICAO: OPIS) (also known as Gandhara International Airport) is the international airport serving Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan and Rawalpindi. It is located 25 km (16 mi) south-west of the city, and is accessed via Srinagar Highway.

The airport commenced full operations in 6 May 2018, replacing the defunct Benazir Bhutto International Airport which now forms part of the PAF Base Nur Khan.[6] It is the largest cargo airport in Pakistan and also in terms of area and passenger capacity, capable of serving 9 million passengers yearly.[7] Further expansions in the future will allow it to serve up to 25 million passengers yearly. It is the second-busiest airport in Pakistan in terms of passenger traffic after Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The terminal includes 15 gates with ten remote gates, duty-free shops, a food court and 42 immigration counters.[8] Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is acquiring 2,833 acres (11.46 km2 / 4.42 sq mi) of land to build a third runway. It is the first and only airport in Pakistan capable of handling the Airbus A380.[citation needed]


Islamabad International Airport view from Parking Area.


Construction of the Islamabad International Airport (ICAO: OPIS) began on 7 April 2007. It was formally inaugurated on 20 April 2018 for regular international and domestic flights.

The plan to construct a new airport was announced in January 2005 by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.[9] A land of 3,242 acres (1,312 ha) land was acquired at the cost of Rs 2.5 billion in November 2005.[10]

The new airport was planned in response to increasing air traffic and passenger loads at the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport. It was estimated that the number of passengers at the former airport was growing by 14 percent annually compared to the national air passenger growth rate of 4 percent, making it the second-busiest airport in the country at the time. Therefore, a site in Pind Ranjha, Attock District was selected as the site for the construction of a new airport just a few kilometres from the Islamabad interchange on M-1/M-2 motorways. The foundation stone of the project was laid by former President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on 7 April 2007.[11]

It was a project of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) and designed by French company Aéroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPi) and CPG Corporation of Singapore. The whole project was financed by PCAA on its own. It is built on more than 3,200 acres of land and consists of a passenger terminal building, two runways, four taxiways, and apron and parking bays for wide-body aircraft.[12] There is also a cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, and fuel farm, as well as a fire, crash, and rescue facility. The site of the airport is near Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District. It is 25 km equidistant from Zero Point, Islamabad and from Saddar, Rawalpindi.[13] The airport is on par with international standards, and serves as a major hub for all aviation activities in Pakistan. The PCAA asked a team of British architects to design the new airport. PCAA signed an agreement with the Louis Berger Group in the US in association with Pakistani consulting firm GT AASR, to undertake project management services. The airport was to be completed in five years but took 12 years to complete resulting in a three times increase in cost.[citation needed]


On 1 May 2018, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi officially inaugurated the new airport.[14] This was followed up with the airport commencing full commercial flight operations on 3 May 2018 and thus replacing the old airport.

Virgin Atlantic flew their first flight to Islamabad on 10 December 2020 with Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft,[15] service was later upgraded to an Airbus A350-1000.[16] Virgin Atlantic suspended their service to Islamabad on 9th July 2023.[17]

As of 2023, Pakistan International Airlines has moved its international hub from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to Islamabad International Airport, better reflecting the origin of its international passengers.[18]


Domestic Arrivals
Interior of domestic arrivals
International departure area

Islamabad International Airport has a 180,000m² modular terminal building which is capable of handling 9 million passengers and 80,000 metric tons cargo per annum. The numbers are expected to reach 25 million passengers by 2024.[19] Being a new airport, a significant portion of the land has been earmarked for commercial purposes such as duty-free shops, a hotel and convention centre, air malls, a business centre, food courts, and leisure and cinema facilities.

Airlines and destinations

The following airlines operate regular scheduled and charter flights at Islamabad International Airport:

Aero Nomad Airlines Bishkek
Air Arabia Ras Al Khaimah
Air China Beijing–Capital1[20]
airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Riyadh, Sharjah
AirSial Jeddah, Karachi[21]
Ariana Afghan Airlines Kabul[22]
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku[23]
British Airways London–Gatwick (begins 27 October 2024),[24] London–Heathrow (ends 26 October 2024)[25]
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou (begins 25 June 2024),[26] Kashgar,[27] Ürümqi[28]
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Fly Jinnah[29][30] Karachi, Quetta, Sharjah[31]
Flynas Riyadh
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf[32]
Jazeera Airways Kuwait City[33]
Kam Air Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Baku, Beijing–Capital, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Gassim, Gilgit, Istanbul,[34] Jeddah, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lahore, Medina, Multan, Muscat, Quetta, Riyadh, Salalah, Sialkot, Skardu, Sukkur, Ta'if, Toronto–Pearson
Qatar Airways Doha
SalamAir Muscat (begins 19 June 2024)[35]
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh
Serene Air Beijing–Daxing,[36] Dubai–International, Karachi, Medina, Quetta, Sharjah
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish Airlines Istanbul[37]

1: Air China's flight from Islamabad to Beijing make a stop over in Karachi. However, the airline has no traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Islamabad and Karachi.[citation needed]

Ground transport


The airport is connected to Islamabad via the Srinagar Highway and Rawalpindi via the GT Road (Highway N-5). A four-lane highway was constructed to serve cargo traffic.[38] The Srinagar Highway is also connected to M-1 Motorway, providing another connection to the airport from Peshawar, Chiamkiani, Nowshera, Risalpur, Jehangira, Lawrencepur, Burhan Attock and Fateh Jang.

Public transportation

A metrobus rapid transit service, which commenced operations on 18 April 2022, connects the airport with Islamabad and Rawalpindi.[39]

See also


  1. ^ "PCAA | Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority".
  2. ^ "First pictures: New Islamabad airport opens, to handle up to 25m flyers a year". 1 May 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Islamabad Airport sets record with six million passengers". Retrieved 18 January 2024.
  4. ^ "Islamabad Airport records highest ever passenger movement in 2023".
  5. ^ "PAC warns of using 2 runways of new Islamabad Airport at a time". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  6. ^ "New Islamabad airport finally operational after years of delay". The Nation (Pakistan). 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Islamabad International Airport - IIAP - اسلام آباد انٹرنیشنل ائیرپورٹ". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  8. ^ "New Islamabad airport: Rs3 billion allocated for road network". The Express Tribune. 19 June 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2023.
  9. ^ "New Islamabad Airport to be built at Fateh Jang". Business Recorder. Pakistan. 11 April 2005. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  10. ^ "Land for Islamabad airport acquired". Business Recorder. Pakistan. 15 November 2007. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  11. ^ Wasif, Sehrish (1 October 2010). "Islamabad airport to be complete by 2013: Shuja". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  12. ^ "New Islamabad airport: delays, cost over-runs". Dawn. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  13. ^ "New BB Airport to open in June next year: Asif Yasin". The News. Pakistan. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  14. ^ Sikander, Sardar (1 May 2018). "Launched: Islamabad joins league of top airports". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Virgin Atlantic suspends services to Pakistan". Retrieved 17 March 2024.
  18. ^ Hanif, Usman (6 August 2019). "PIA shifts hub of int'l flights to Islamabad". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 18 April 2023.
  19. ^ "Benazir Bhutto New Islamabad International Airport, Pakistan". Airport Technology. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Mainland Chinese Carriers Aug - Oct 2022 International Service - 07AUG22". AeroRoutes. 8 August 2022. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  21. ^ "AirSial expected to start operations in Pakistan next month, first plane lands in Karachi". 29 November 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Kabul passport office suspends work as demand crashes system". Reuters. 16 November 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  23. ^ "Azerbaijan Airlines Launches Pakistan Service From late-Sep 2023". AeroRoutes. 17 August 2023. Retrieved 17 August 2023.
  24. ^ "British Airways NW24 Intercontinental Network Changes". AeroRoutes. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  25. ^ "British Airways NW24 Intercontinental Network Changes". AeroRoutes. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  26. ^ "China Southern Adds Guangzhou - Islamabad Service From June 2024". AeroRoutes. 7 May 2024. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  27. ^ "China Southern Expands Islamabad Service in 1Q24". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 24 January 2024.
  28. ^ "Mainland Chinese Carriers NS23 International / Regional Network – 23APR23". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 24 April 2023.
  29. ^ "Pakistan's low-cost airline Fly Jinnah set to commence operations after securing license". 20 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Fly Jinnah".
  31. ^ "Fly Jinnah starting international flights". Pro-Pakistani. 2 February 2024. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  32. ^ "Iraqi adds flights to Islamabad". 27 July 2022. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  33. ^ "Jazeera Airways Plans Islamabad Addition in Dec 2022".
  34. ^ "PIA to resume Turkiye flight operations from November 14". 7 October 2022.
  35. ^ "SALAMAIR NS24 NETWORK ADDITIONS". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 11 March 2024.
  36. ^ "Serene Air launches 2 weekly flights to Beijing this month". Pakistan Today. 4 November 2023. Retrieved 4 November 2023.
  37. ^ "Istanbul's New Airport Is A Hot Beautiful Mess". One Mile at a Time. 9 April 2019.
  38. ^ "Road network for new Islamabad Airport: Dar approves Rs 11 billion project". Business Recorder. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  39. ^ "PM urges China to include KCR in CPEC schemes". The Express Tribune. 18 April 2022. Retrieved 17 April 2023.


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Islamabad International Airport
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