Benazir Bhutto International Airport
|Benazir Bhutto International Airport
Islamabad International Airport
بینظیر بھٹو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈہ
|IATA: ISB – ICAO: OPRN
|Airport type||Public / Military|
|Operator||Civil Aviation Authority of Pakistan|
|Serves||Islamabad and Rawalpindi|
|Elevation AMSL||1,688 ft / 508 m|
|Sources: AIP Pakistan and DAFIF|
Benazir Bhutto International Airport (Urdu: بینظیر بھٹّو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈہ, IATA: ISB, ICAO: 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 then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yusuf Raza Gillani on 21 June 2008.
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 Nur Khan.
In the fiscal year 2008-2009, over 3,136,664 million passengers used Benazir Bhutto International Airport and 34,025 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.
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. The new green field facility will be the biggest in Pakistan. The new location of the Islamabad International Airport has been selected at Fateh Jang, less than 20 km from Islamabad city centre (Blue Area), as measured from Zero Point. The construction of the new airport is underway and completion is estimated to be in 2013.
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 level 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.
There are separate lounges for international and domestic economy passengers. The domestic and international lounges have been provided with facilities that include wifi Internet, snack bars/light refreshments, satellite plasma TVs, telephone and fax facilities, and a global selection of newspapers/magazines. 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 and it has not the capacity to take off and landing of such aircraft as Airbus A380 or Boeing 747-8. 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, wifi 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, Barclays, Citibank, and Habib Bank have also launched ATMs that are linked to various global 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 
Cargo airlines 
|Royal Airlines Cargo|
|Star Air Aviation|
|TCS Courier||Dubai, Karachi, Lahore, London-Heathrow|
Accidents and incidents 
- On 1 August 1948, an 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 18 May 1959, a PIA Vickers 815 Viscount skidded off the runway causing the aircraft to stop in a monsoon ditch. The aircraft suffered substantial damage; no crew or passengers were harmed in the accident.
- On 4 February 1986, a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 747-200 Combi performed a belly landing at the airport. Apparently the crew had failed to release the landing gear on final approach. No passengers or crew were hurt, and the airport received minimal damage.
- On 15 February 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 Mriya. Virgin Atlantic Airways operated a special relief flight to Islamabad using a Boeing 747 with 55 tonnes of aid.
- On 28 July 2010, airblue Flight 202, a domestic flight from Karachi operated by Airbus A321 AP-BJB, crashed into the Margalla Hills in Islamabad while trying to land at the airport. The aircraft crashed into mountainous and wooded terrain near the city, killing all 152 persons on board.
- From February 8 to 11, 2011, there was a workers' strike at the airport against the selling of destinations to Turkish Airlines and the sacking of six Pakistan International Airlines pilots. This led to the resignation of the Managing Director of PIA Capt.Aijaz Haroon and caused the cancelling of many flights.
- On 20 April 2012, a Boeing 737-200 (AP-BKC), Bhoja Air Flight 213 carrying 127 people on a flight from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport destined for Islamabad's Benazir Bhutto International Airport crashed near Chaklala killing all on board. Pakistani Defence Ministry officials believe that the plane crashed into a remote residential area. There were also bad weather conditions, with lightning and rain pouring at the time of landing. Eye-witness reports say that the aircraft was already on fire on its landing approach before it crashed. Initial reports suggest that as the pilots of Bhoja Air Flight B4-213 attempted to land amidst rain and strong winds, the ill-fated aircraft might have flown into an unexpected wind shear that possibly smashed it on the ground below. The aircraft had been retired by Shaheen Air, and then acquired and placed in service by Bhoja Air in March 2012.
See also 
- Islamabad Gandhara International Airport
- List of airports in Pakistan
- Airlines of Pakistan
- Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority
- Transport in Pakistan
- AIP Pakistan: OPRN – ISLAMABAD / Chaklala International
- Airport information for OPRN at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.Source: DAFIF.
- Airport information for ISB at Great Circle Mapper. Source: DAFIF (effective Oct. 2006).
- PM names Islamabad Airport as Benazir Bhutto International Airport - GEO.tv
- caapakistan.com.pk - Major Traffic Flows By Airport During The Year 2008-09
- Islamabad International Airport: Rawal Lounge
- Virgin Atlantic Operates Relief Flight To Islamabad, Pakistan
Further reading 
- Ground breaking ceremony of new Islamabad airport likely in April, Business Recorder (Pakistan's Financial Daily Newspaper), 2005-03-03.
- CAA initiates $300m new Islamabad airport (NIIA), Pakistan Link Headline News, 2006-01-07.
- CAA initiates $300m new Islamabad airport project, The News Business Section, 2006-01-07.
- New Islamabad International Airport ready for ground breaking Ceremony, PakTribune, 2006-02-07.
- Turkish Airlines wants to operate daily flights to Karachi, The News, 2007-07-10.
- Progress in THY's Pakistan flights, Turkish Daily News, 2007-07-19.
- SkyscraperCity Pakistan: Islamabad International Airport Updates
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Benazir Bhutto International Airport|
- Islamabad International Airport, official web site
- Current weather for OPRN at NOAA/NWS
- Accident history for ISB at Aviation Safety Network
- Airport information for OPRN at World Aero Data. Data current as of October 2006.