Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport

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Imam Khomeini
International Airport (IKIA)

فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی
IKIA Logo 1.png
Tehran IKIA at Night.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Iranian Airports Holding Company
Operator Iran Civil Aviation Organization
Serves Tehran, Karaj, Iran
Location Ahmadabad, Iran
Opened 8 May 2004
Hub for
Time zone IRST (UTC+3:30)
 • Summer (DST) IRDT (UTC+04:30)
Elevation AMSL 3,305 ft / 1,007 m
Coordinates 35°24′58″N 051°09′08″E / 35.41611°N 51.15222°E / 35.41611; 51.15222
Website ikia.airport.ir
IKA is located in Iran
Location within Iran
Direction Length Surface
ft m
11L/29R 13,772 4,198 Asphalt
13,940 4,249 Asphalt
Statistics (۱۳۹۳ - 2014)
Aircraft Movements 45,069 Increase 22.3%
Passengers 6,393,695 Increase 28.2%
Cargo 120,954 tons Increase 22.3%
Source: Iranian Airports Holding Company[1]

Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport[2] (Persian: فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی‎‎) (IATA: IKAICAO: OIIE), also known as Tehran-IKIA or IKIA, is the main international airport of Iran, located 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of the city of Tehran, near the localities of Robat-Karim and Eslamshahr, on a 13,500-hectare (135 km2) site. It was designed to replace Mehrabad International Airport, which is in the west of the city, now inside the city boundaries. The airport was originally designated as Ahmadabad but was later renamed to "Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport". It is capable of handling wide-body aircraft such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 super heavy aircraft.

The airport, operated by the Iranian Airports Holding Company, is the home base of Iran Air, Meraj Airlines, Mahan Air, Iran Aseman Airlines, Qeshm Airlines, Taban Air, and Zagros Airlines. As of August 2014, Imam Khomeini International Airport serves more than 40 airlines operating over 850 of weekly flights connecting Tehran to cities in over 30 countries and territories worldwide.


Terminal building
Baggage claim area

Construction and inauguration[edit]

The construction began before the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The original designers were TAMS, a consortium of US designers. A local joint venture was formed and was called TAMS-AFFA, Aziz FarmanFarmaian and Associates, the firm created by Abdol-Aziz Mirza Farmanfarmaian, to carry out the full design and supervision of construction.

After the Iranian Revolution, the project was abandoned until the government of Iran decided to design and build the airport using local know-how. The French firm ADP was selected to head the local designers and engineering firms. A turnkey design and build contract was awarded to a local general contractor company, Kayson, to carry out and manage the construction. After two years this contract was abandoned and was awarded to a Bonyad, the Mostazafan & Janbazan (M&J Foundation), a public cartel.[3]

After construction of the main terminal was finished by M&J Foundation, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization decided to turn the management of operations along with the construction of the second terminal to the TAV (Tepe-Akfen-Vie) consortium of two Turkish (Tepe and Akfen) and an Austrian (Vie) companies.

The original opening was scheduled for 11 February 2004, the onset of the auspicious "Ten-Day Dawn" (1–11 February) celebrations, marking the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

There were numerous issues surrounding the construction of the airport including the supply of fuel to the new airport, and a delay in signing a deal with the Iranian oil ministry forced a delay in the opening of the airport until 8 May 2004.

Just prior to the opening on 8 May, two local airlines refused to switch to the new airport. Economic Hayat-e No daily quoted Ali Abedzadeh, director of semi-privately-owned Iran Aseman Airlines, as saying "We are not flying from an airport run by foreigners." TAV officials were ordered to withdraw their personnel and equipment from the airport on 7 May 2004, and operations were handed over to Iran Air.

"I think they (the armed forces) were given false reports that the Turks were still on the site, while they had all evacuated the airport by Friday," airport manager Hossein Pirouzi said. However, on 8 May, a few hours after the opening of airport, the Revolutionary Guards of the Iranian Armed Forces closed it, citing security fears over the use of foreigners in the running of the airport. Only one Emirates flight from Dubai was allowed to land. The second flight from Dubai, which was an Iran Air flight, was forced to land in Isfahan International Airport, because the Mehrabad Airport did not allow it to land there after the Imam Khomeini airport was closed by the armed forces. The rest of the flights were diverted to Mehrabad.

On 11 May, in a meeting of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Ugur Ziyal and Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, the Turkish expressed uneasiness about the actions of the Iranian armed forces. The airport reopened on 13 May, as deputy head of Iran's Joint Chiefs of staff Brigadier-General Alireza Afshar stated "because foreign companies will no longer be in charge of the airport's operation, security obstacles are removed."

In April 2005 the $350 million Imam Khomeini International Airport was reopened under the management of a consortium of four local airlines—Mahan Air, Aseman, Caspian Airlines and Kish Air—although no formal contract appeared to have been awarded. Soon later management of the airport has been transferred to the Iranian Airports Holding Company which in behalf of Iranian Ministry of Roads and Transportation is in charge of operating all civil and governmental Iranian airports except some belongs to special organizations like Oil ministry or Armed Forces.[4]

Further complicating matters, on 29 April 2005, the United Kingdom and Canada warned its citizens against using the airport due to alleged safety concerns concerning the runway, which has been claimed to have been built over ancient qanats (subterranean waterways).[5][6] Iranian officials countered these claims by stating that there are no safety issues and that the International Civil Aviation Organization had inspected and approved the airport.

On 26 October 2007, it was announced that as of 28 October 2007 at midnight, all international flights except those bound to and from Damascus, Jeddah and Medina were transferred to the Imam Khomeini International Airport and the IKA became Tehran's primary international airport. All flights have now been moved to IKA except domestic flights and flights to Saudi Arabia for Hajj and Umrah.[7]

Development since 2009[edit]


The French firm ADPI, subsidiary of the Aéroports de Paris Group has completed preparation of a master plan development study, with a second and third phase of development offering total of 32 and 50 million annual passengers throughput capacity.

As remaining parts of phase one constructing of the second runway and completion of the Customs Administrations' finished by 2013.The cargo terminal and CIP terminal were also inaugurated in 2013 and 2014 with Haj terminal named SALAM terminal under construction with the capacity of 6 million passengers in year and is to be completed by June 2016.Two 4star and 5 star airport Hotels totaling 350rooms opened on April 2015 by a joint venture of Iranian/French companies under Ibis and Novotel chain brands offering world class services. Phases 2 & 3 of the airport have been designed to extend the airport capacity to 32 million and 50 million passengers annually with another possible phase 4 to reaching 90 million per year. Study and design for phase 4 will be done as soon as construction of phase 3 starts. As expected the airport quickly reached its current capacity of 6.5 million per year in 2014,so a bid to find investors for second phase that had been announced by airport officials which is thought to get to the result much faster by growing interest of western investors after relieving Iran from sanctions on January 2016 . It will includes a new 238,000 m2 passenger terminal with annual capacity of 20 million named Iran Shahr, a southern runway, third parking with 2500 cars capacity .This phase will cost USD2.2 billion from which USD700 million will be provided by Iranian government and the rest USD1.5 billion is the matter of bid. The airport is equipped with a control tower simulator designed by Iranian knowledge base firm FARAZ GROUP in 2014 for training of ATC staff which is the first time in Iran that an airport has this kind of simulator after Iranian revolution. The first international training course was held in IKA by using this modern simulator for 53 Syrian air traffic controllers by November 2014.

Many European airlines including Air France, British Airways, Eurowings and Lufthansa have recently announced resuming or increasing their flights and also opening new routes to Tehran after sanctions lifted in mid January 2016.[8][9]


Imam Khomeini Airport has 1 passenger terminal, with a total annual handling capacity of 6.5 million passengers and 120,000 tonnes of cargo. Terminal 16, the Pilgrimage Terminal, is currently under construction. In 2013, the airport handled 45.826 million passengers, a 20% increase over the previous year. This made it the eleventh busiest airport by international passenger traffic in the Middle East. In addition to being an important passenger hub, the airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the region, handling 98,904 tonnes of cargo in 2013. The total number of commercial aircraft movements was 36,827 in 2013.[10]

IKA is equipped with the ILS CAT II since August 2009. The second ILS system for serving other runway was purchased seven years ago but the selling firm refused to set it up due to sanctions against Iran. The ILS was installed by Iranian experts but were not operating correctly and switched off.[11]

IKA has obtained the international certificate of Integrated Management System (IMS). IMS includes OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001: 2004 and ISO 9001, which are issued for safety and professional hygiene, protecting the environment and the quality of management respectively.[12] Imam Khomeini International Airport, is also the first busiest international airport in Iran, achieved CAO Airport Certificate on June 10, 2013.

Airside hotels[edit]

For the first time since the 1979 revolution international hotels are opening outlets in the country, with the French chains Novotel and Ibis inaugurating air side facilities at Imam Khomeini Airport in October 2015.[13]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Athens
Aeroflot Moscow–Sheremetyevo
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle (resumes 18 April 2016)[14]
Alitalia Rome–Fiumicino
Ata Airlines Tbilisi
AtlasGlobal Adana, Ercan, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir
Austrian Airlines Vienna
Azerbaijan Airlines Baku
Belavia Seasonal: Minsk–National
British Airways London–Heathrow (resumes 14 July 2016) [15]
Bulgarian Air Charter Seasonal charter: Varna
Caspian Airlines Damascus, Dubai–International, Isparta, Najaf, Sulaimaniyah
China Southern Airlines Beijing–Capital, Ürümqi
Corendon Airlines Antalya, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
flydubai Dubai–International
Freebird Airlines Seasonal: Adana, Bursa, Gaziantep, Izmir
Germania Berlin–Schönefeld[16]
Iran Air Amsterdam, Ankara, Baghdad, Baku, Beijing–Capital, Beirut, Cologne/Bonn, Damascus, Dubai–International, Frankfurt, Gothenburg–Landvetter, Hamburg, Istanbul–Atatürk, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International, London–Heathrow, Milan–Malpensa, Mumbai, Moscow–Sheremetyevo, Paris–Orly, Rome–Fiumicino, Stockholm–Arlanda, Tashkent, Vienna
Iran Air Tours Seasonal: Adana, Doha, Dubai–International, Isparta
Iran Aseman Airlines Dubai–International, Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Sulaimaniyah, Tashkent, Yerevan
Seasonal charter: Isparta, Izmir, Varna
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf
Kam Air Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif
Kish Air Najaf
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich (begins 15 April 2016)[17]
Mahan Air Almaty, Ankara, Athens,[18] Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital, Beirut, Copenhagen (begins 9 June 2016),[19] Dammam, Delhi, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Erbil, Guangzhou, Isparta, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir, Kabul, Kiev–Boryspil (begins 14 February 2016),[20] Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait, Milan–Malpensa, Moscow–Vnukovo, Munich, Saint Petersburg, Shanghai–Pudong, Sochi, Yerevan
Seasonal charter: Antalya, Bucharest, Burgas, Colombo, Goa, Konya, Larnaca, Malé, Mauritius, Medina, Najaf, Phuket, Varna
Meraj Airlines Ankara, Isparta, Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Izmir, Kuwait, Najaf
Seasonal: Antalya, Baghdad, Dubai–International, Konya, Varna
Nouvelair Seasonal charter: Enfidha, Monastir, Tunis
Oman Air Muscat
Onur Air Seasonal: Adana
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Seasonal: Adana, Alanya, Gaziantep
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Airlines Baghdad, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Dubai–International, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir, Najaf, Sulaimaniyah
Seasonal charter: Bucharest, Isparta, Konya, Larnaca, Saint Petersburg, Varna
Syrian Air Damascus
Taban Air Delhi,[21] Dushanbe, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir, Najaf
Seasonal: Kiev–Boryspil
Tailwind Airlines Seasonal: Adana, Antalya
Tajik Air Dushanbe
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev–Boryspil
UM Airlines Kiev–Boryspil
Zagros Airlines Baghdad, Isparta, Izmir


Airlines Destinations Terminal
Iran Air Cargo Amsterdam, Ankara, Baku, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Beijing-Capital, Beirut, Cologne/Bonn, Copenhagen, Dammam, Dubai-International, Doha, Frankfurt, Gothenburg-Landvetter, Hamburg, Istanbul-Atatürk, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait City, London-Heathrow, Milan-Malpensa, Moscow-Sheremetyevo, Mumbai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Stockholm-Arlanda, Tashkent, Vienna Cargo A
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt Cargo B
Pegasus Cargo Istanbul-Sabiha Gökçen Cargo B
Turkish Airlines Cargo Hanoi, Istanbul-Atatürk, Karachi Cargo B
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha, Hong Kong Cargo B

Ground transportation[edit]

Imam Khomeini Airport is accessible from Tehran by car, taxi and bus via the Tehran-Qom Freeway. An airport access road connects the freeway to the airport terminal, continuing to serve Robat-Karim via an interchange with Saidi Highway. An extension to the southern part of Line 1 of Tehran Metro for IKA airport is currently under construction. There is also plan to have Line 3 of the Tehran Metro to reach its southern terminus at IKA in future.

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 15 December 2007, an Airbus A330-200 belonging to KLM arriving from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol collided with a Lufthansa Airbus A340-300 bound for Frankfurt International Airport. The accident, which took place at 3:00 IRST, caused no casualties but led to the cancellation of the Lufthansa flight.[22] The aircraft was coming to a stop in front of a passenger boarding bridge when it collided with the wing of the Lufthansa Airbus A340 that was taxiing towards the runway. It was reported that the planes did not sustain severe damage.[22]
  • On 4 January 2008, an Iran Air Boeing 747-100B had three of its engines catch fire whilst landing at Imam Khomeini Airport. Heavy snowfall managed to extinguish the fires and the airplane returned to service two days after the incident.[citation needed]
  • On 15 July 2009, Caspian Airlines Flight 7908, a Tupolev Tu-154 bound for Yerevan, Armenia crashed into a field in the village of Farsiyan in Qazvin province (north-western Iran), 16 minutes after take-off from Imam Khomeini Airport. All 168 passengers and crew were killed.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] (May 2015).
  2. ^ Name
  3. ^ "Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA)". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Economist Intelligence Unit". 18 August 2008.  |contribution= ignored (help)
  5. ^ Reuters. "Iran and UK in row over airport". CNN, 1 May 2005. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Iran's new airport in safety fear". BBC News, 3 May 2005. Retrieved 13 June 2009.
  7. ^ Rezaee, Siavash (30 October 2007). "President of National Civil Aviation Organization in an interview with "Iran": small airlines will be eliminated" (in Persian). Iran-e Eqtesadi. p. 2. 
  8. ^ "Lifting of sanctions to spur Iran travel. Turkish Airlines & Gulf carriers have large presence". CAPA - Centre for Aviation. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Air France to resume direct Paris-Tehran flights". Radio France Internationale. 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  10. ^ "(IKA) Imam Khomeini International Airport". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  11. ^ [2] Archived 21 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Imam Khomeini airport obtains IMS certificate". Presstv.com. 28 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  13. ^ International hotel chains opening in Iran at Imam Khomeini Airport
  14. ^ http://airlineroute.net/2016/01/01/af–cdgika–s16update2/
  15. ^ http://www.aviationiran.com/2016/02/03/british-airways-announces-daily-flights-to-tehran/
  16. ^ http://www.aviationiran.com/2015/12/31/germania–reduces–iran–flights/
  17. ^ Lufthansa Adds Munich – Tehran Route from Apr 2016. Airline Route. 21 October 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  18. ^ "Mahan Air Opens 6 New International Routes from May 14, 2015" (Press release). Mahan Air. 19 May 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  19. ^ http://www.aviationiran.com/2016/01/27/mahan-air-delays-copenhagen-launch/
  20. ^ L, J (1 January 2016). "Mahan Air Adds Moscow / Kiev Service in 16Q1". Airline Route. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 
  21. ^ Taban to Delhi
  22. ^ a b "Lufthansa, KLM planes collide at IKIA". Press TV. Retrieved 5 January 2008. 
  23. ^ "Iranian Airliner Crashes in Northwest, Killing 168". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 

External links[edit]