The airport is the country's second busiest only to Tehran Mehrabad Airport and above the famous Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport. In 1392 (2013) the airport handled 7,321,371 passengers along with 65,685 tons of cargo. It is connected to 57 destinations and has frequent flights to 30 cities within Iran and 27 destinations in the Central Asia, the Middle East and East Asia.
The airport has been under a USD45.7 ml vast expansion project which has been finished by opening a new Haj Terminal with 10,000 m area on 24 May 2010 and followed by opening a new international terminal with 30000 m2 area with a new parking building, a new custom storage and cargo terminal, new safety and fire fighting buildings and upgrades to taxiways and equipment. Another USD26.5 ml development project for construction of new hangar for aircraft repair facilities and expansion of the west side of the domestic terminal is underway using a BOT contract with the private sector.
On 1 September 2006, an Iran Air ToursTupolev Tu-154 skidded off the runway as it was landing at Mashhad International Airport and caught fire. A tire had blown on the aircraft during landing. The aircraft was carrying 147 passengers, 29 of them died in the accident. The Tu-154 was flying from Bandar Abbas to Mashhad.
On 24 July 2009, Aria Air Flight 1525, an Ilyushin Il-62, route THR-MHD (Teheran Mehrabad, Iran to Mashad, Iran) crashed with 153 passengers and caught fire; 3 passengers and 13 crew died.
On 24 January 2010, Taban Air Flight 6437, a Tupolev Tu-154M, crashed whilst making an emergency landing at Mashhad International Airport due to a medical emergency; all 157 and 13 crew survived the accident with 42 receiving minor injuries. It is reported that the aircraft was on an ILS landing in fog when the tail struck the ground causing the plane to veer off the runway, followed by a nose-gear collapse, then the right wing struck the ground causing the aircraft to burst into flames.