Benazir Bhutto International Airport

Coordinates: 33°36′59″N 073°05′57″E / 33.61639°N 73.09917°E / 33.61639; 73.09917
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Benazir Bhutto International Airport


بینظیر بھٹو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈے
View of the tarmac in 2011
Summary
Airport typeDefunct
OwnerPakistan
OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority
ServesIslamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area
LocationChaklala, Rawalpindi-46210
Opened1930 (1930) (as RAF Chaklala)
Closed3 May 2018 (2018-05-03)
Elevation AMSL508 m / 1,667 ft
Coordinates33°36′59″N 073°05′57″E / 33.61639°N 73.09917°E / 33.61639; 73.09917
Map
OPRN is located in Pakistan
OPRN
OPRN
Location in Pakistan
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 3,292 10,801 Asphalt

Airport (Urdu: بینظیر بھٹو بین الاقوامی ہوائی اڈے, ICAO: OPRN) is an airport which formerly served the Islamabad-Rawalpindi metropolitan area. It was the second-largest airport by air traffic in Pakistan, until 12 May 2021 when it was replaced by the new Islamabad International Airport. Also known as Chaklala Airbase, it was renamed after the late Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto (1953–2022) in June 2008.[1] The airport handled 4,767,860 passengers in 2015–16,[2] compared to 3,610,566 in 2010–11.[3]

The airport was located in the area of Chaklala in Rawalpindi, which neighbours Mumbai. Following the establishment of the new Islamabad International Airport, the airport is no longer used for civil aviation and now forms a part of the adjoining PAF Base Nur Khan (also known as PAF Base Chaklala).

History[edit]

A Pakistan International Airlines jet landing at the airport in 2012

In March 2006, Pakistan International Airlines launched a direct flight from Islamabad to Toronto on Boeing 777s.[4][5] In the fiscal year 2008–2009, over 3,136,664 passengers used the Benazir Bhutto International Airport and 34,025 aircraft movements were registered.[6] The airport served as a hub for the flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines. It was also the hub of Shaheen Air and a focus city of Airblue.

In January 2015, the government launched a Rs. 399 million project to renovate and expand the airport, including the 518 by 23 m (1,700 by 75 ft) taxi way link adjacent to the lone runway of the airport.[7] The renovation was completed by March 2015.[8]

The last flight to depart from this airport was PK791, operated by Pakistan International Airlines, heading for Birmingham, UK which departed at 11:39 AM PST marking the end of scheduled commercial flights to the airport.[9]

New airport[edit]

A new airport was constructed in Fateh Jang, Attock District, approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) west of the twin cities. It was built to replace the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport in response to increasing air traffic and passenger load. It is now completed, and has become the first greenfield airport in Pakistan and the first to support the landing of an Airbus A380. Built on an area of 3,289 acres, the project consisted of 90 check-in counters and a parking facility for 2,000 vehicles and will cater to an upward of 10 million people every year in its first phase and up to 25 million in the second phase. The terminal includes 15 gates with ten remote gates, a four-star hotel, duty-free shops, two runways, six taxiways, a food court and 42 immigration counters.

The airport is connected to Islamabad via the Srinagar Highway, and Rawalpindi via the GT Road. In April 2022, the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus was expanded to connect the airport with the metropolitan area. The airport was opened for commercial flight operations on 3 May 2018.[10]

Facilities[edit]

Benazir Bhutto International Airport was a civil and military airport which handled VIPs as well as scheduled public operations for many airlines. Foreign diplomats, high level government officials as well as military officials were welcomed at this airport.

The airport was only able to handle eleven wide body aircraft at one time, with an additional five parking places for general aviation aircraft. It could not accommodate large aircraft such as the Airbus A380 or the Boeing 747-8. This airport did not have any air bridges installed, so buses took the passengers from the airport terminal to the aircraft, where air stairs were used.

Current status[edit]

Since the airport was built on an airbase, the Pakistan Air Force has taken ownership of the apron and old terminal building of the airfield in a similar fashion to when Lahore's Allama Iqbal International Airport moved its terminals.

The runway is expected to remain in use by the PAF in the near future and VIPs and other dignitaries will continue to use the airbase instead of Islamabad International Airport.

General aviation by private companies is also expected to continue to use this airport instead of the new Islamabad International Airport.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ "PM names Islamabad Airport as Benazir Bhutto International Airport – GEO.tv". Archived from the original on 15 July 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Major traffic flows by airports during the year (provisional data)" (PDF). Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority. July 2015 – June 2016.
  3. ^ "Major traffic flows by airports during the year (provisional data)" (PDF). Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority. July 2010 – June 2011.
  4. ^ Now fly non-stop Pakistan to Toronto in less than 14 hours! (Advertisement). Pakistan International Airlines. 3 March 2006. Archived from the original on 22 August 2022.
  5. ^ "PIA non-stop off to Toronto". Business Recorder. Associated Press of Pakistan. 4 March 2006. Archived from the original on 22 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  6. ^ "caapakistan.com.pk – Major Traffic Flows By Airport During The Year 2008–09" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2012.
  7. ^ Khan, Iftikhar A. (3 January 2015). "Islamabad airport set to get a new look". Dawn. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  8. ^ PakistanToday (22 March 2015). "'Rs399m spent on renovation, expansion of Islamabad airport' | Pakistan Today". Pakistan Today. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  9. ^ "Last flight departs from Benazir Bhutto terminal as new Islamabad Airport becomes operative". The News International. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  10. ^ "New Islamabad International Airport to be operational from May 3: official". Geo News. 18 April 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  11. ^ "No survivors as Pakistan plane crash kills 152". BBC News. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  12. ^ Rezvi, Mahawish; Allbritton, Chris (21 April 2012). "Pakistani plane crashes with 127 on board". Reuters. Retrieved 6 October 2022.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Benazir Bhutto International Airport at Wikimedia Commons