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Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport

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Imam Khomeini
International Airport (IKIA)

(فرودگاه بین‌المللی امام خمینی (ره
IKIA Logo 1.png
Tehran IKIA at Night.jpg
Airport type Public
Owner Iran Airports Company
Operator Iran Civil Aviation Organization
Serves Tehran, Iran
Location Ahmadabad, Iran
Opened 8 May 2004
Focus city 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 (2016)
Aircraft Movements 53,359 Increase 5.8%
Passengers 7,821,369 Increase 8.0%
Cargo (t) 148,020 Increase 9.5%

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. Along with Mehrabad International Airport, it is one of the two major commercial airports serving Tehran and the busiest international air passenger gateway to Iran. As of December 2016, it serves international destinations in Asia and Europe. All domestic flights in and out of Tehran are currently served by Mehrabad Airport.

The airport features one passenger terminal, two parallel runways and several logistics and maintenance facilities. Operated by the Iran Airports Company, it's one of the home bases of Iran Air, Meraj Airlines, Mahan Air, Iran Aseman Airlines, Qeshm Airlines, Taban Air, and Zagros Airlines.


Terminal 1 building
Baggage reclaim area
Iran Air Airbus A300-600R, being refuelled at Imam Khomeini International Airport.

Early planning and post-revolution stall

Construction of the airport began prior to the 1979 Iranian revolution. The original designers were Tippetts-Abbett-McCarthy-Stratton (TAMS), an American engineering and architectural consulting partnership. A local joint venture was formed between TAMS and local firm Abdol Aziz Farmanfarmaian Associates called TAMS-AFFA, to carry out the full design and supervision of construction. Following the Iranian revolution, however, the project was abandoned until the government of Iran decided to design and build the airport using local expertise.


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 Co., to carry out and manage the construction. After two years this contract was abandoned and was awarded to a bonyad, the Mostazafan Foundation.[3]

Initial opening and lingering disputes

After construction of Terminal 1 was completed by the Mostazafan 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 consisting 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 unease 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."

Second opening

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 was transferred to the Iran Airports 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]

Travel warnings

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 was claimed to be built over ancient qanats (subterranean waterways).[5][6]

Final opening

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. In 2016, as a result of worsening ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, all Hajj flights from Iran were terminated, rendering IKA the only international gateway to Tehran.[7]



In 2013, the airport handled 4.756 million passengers, a 20% increase over the previous year. This made it the eleventh busiest airport by international passenger traffic in the Middle East. The airport handled 98,904 tonnes of cargo in 2013. The total number of commercial aircraft movements was 36,827 in 2013.[8]

Post-nuclear sanctions boom

Subsequent to the lifting of nuclear-related sanctions in mid January 2016, Air France became the first European carrier to resume flights to the Iranian capital after having suspended them in 2008. On 17 April 2016,[9] Air Asia became the first Southeast Asian airline to resume Tehran services by offering direct flights from the Malaysian and Thai capitals to Tehran after having suspended them in 2012. On 21 June 2016,[10] Central Asian airlines including Uzbekistan Airways[11] and Air Astana[12] started IKA-bound flights too.

Furthermore, various other airlines including British Airways,[13] KLM, China Southern Airlines,[14] Lufthansa,[15] and Thai Airways[16] have either resumed or ramped up frequency of their flights to Tehran.


Passenger Terminals

Terminal 1

IKIA's first active (and as of July 2016, its only operational) terminal has a total annual handling capacity of 6.5 million passengers and 120,000 tonnes of cargo. In 2015, it handled over 7 million passengers, and it is expected to handle 8 million in 2016.[17]

Salam Terminal (Terminal 2)

The second terminal, called the Salam Terminal, is currently under construction, with a capacity of 5 million passengers per year. It was meant to be opened in June 2016, but financing issues led to its opening being delayed until May 2017. While originally intended as a dedicated pilgrimage terminal, according to Iran's Minister of Roads and Transportation Abbas Akhoundi, it will be open to all varieties of flights.[17]

Iranshahr Terminal (Terminal 3)

The third terminal, called the Iranshahr Terminal, is set to open in 2–3 years. It is currently in its planning phase, with the development contract awarded to the Dutch engineering firm Netherlands Airport Consultants (NACO), a subsidiary of Royal HaskoningDHV.[17] It will have an expected capacity of 20 million passengers per year, bringing the airport's total passenger capacity to 30 million passengers per year. Once opened, the current Terminal 1 will be used for domestic flights only.[18]


There are currently two runways at IKA of which only one is operational. The operational runway is equipped with the ILS CAT II since August 2009. A second ILS system was purchased seven years ago to serve the other runway but the selling firm refused to set it up due to sanctions against Iran. The ILS was installed by Iranian technicians but malfunctioned and was indefinitely switched off.[19] A third runway positioned to the south of the existing runways and passenger terminal is in final stages of construction.


In October 2015, French corporation AccorHotels opened its Novotel and Ibis-branded hotels on the airport premises, marking the entry of the first international hotel chain into the Iranian market since the 1979 revolution.[20] The two hotels are connected to the main passenger terminal by a skybridge passing through the currently unfinished airport metro station.

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations
Aegean Airlines Athens
Aeroflot Moscow–Sheremetyevo
Air Arabia Sharjah
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur–International
Air Astana Almaty
Air France Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Air India Express Delhi (begins 26 March 2017)[21]
Alitalia Rome–Fiumicino
Armenia Aircompany Yerevan
Ata Airlines Baku, Tbilisi, Istanbul
AtlasGlobal Istanbul–Atatürk
Austrian Airlines Vienna
AZALJet Baku
Belavia Minsk–National
British Airways London–Heathrow
Caspian Airlines Dubai–International, Isparta, Najaf
Cham Wings Damascus
China Southern Airlines Beijing–Capital, Ürümqi
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
FlyBaghdad Baghdad, Najaf
flydubai Dubai–International
Germania Berlin–Schönefeld
Iran Air Amsterdam, Ankara, Baghdad, Beijing-Capital (resumes 1 March 2017),[22]Beirut, Cologne/Bonn, Damascus, Dubai–International, Frankfurt, Gothenburg–Landvetter, Hamburg, Istanbul–Atatürk, Karachi, Kuala Lumpur-International (resumes 28 February 2017),[22]London–Heathrow, Milan–Malpensa, Mumbai, Moscow–Sheremetyevo, Paris–Orly, Rome–Fiumicino, Stockholm–Arlanda, Vienna
Iran Aseman Airlines Dubai–International, Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen, Kabul, Yerevan
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf
Kish Air Najaf
KLM Amsterdam
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City
Lufthansa Frankfurt, Munich
Mahan Air Almaty, Ankara, Athens, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Baku,[23] Beijing–Capital, Beirut, Copenhagen, Delhi, Dubai–International, Düsseldorf, Erbil, Guangzhou, Istanbul–Atatürk, Kabul, Kiev–Boryspil, Kuala Lumpur–International, Milan–Malpensa, Moscow–Vnukovo, Munich, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Saint Petersburg, Shanghai–Pudong, Yerevan
Meraj Airlines Isparta, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir, Najaf
Oman Air Muscat
Pegasus Airlines Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Qatar Airways Doha
Qeshm Airlines Baghdad, Dubai–International, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir, Najaf, Isparta
S7 Airlines Moscow-Domodedovo (begins 27 May 2017)[24]
Taban Air Astrakhan, Istanbul–Atatürk, Izmir, Najaf
Tajik Air Dushanbe
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk, Istanbul–Sabiha Gökçen
Ukraine International Airlines Kiev–Boryspil
UM Airlines Kiev–Zhuliany
Zagros Airlines Baghdad, Najaf, Istanbul


Airlines Destinations
Bulgarian Air Charter Seasonal: Varna
Iran Aseman Airlines Seasonal: Isparta, Izmir, Varna
Mahan Air Seasonal: Antalya, Bucharest, Burgas, Colombo, Goa, Konya, Larnaca, Mauritius, Medina, Najaf, Sochi, Varna
Qeshm Airlines Seasonal: Belgrade, Bucharest, Isparta, Konya, Larnaca, Sochi, St. Petersburg, Split, Varna, Zagreb
Wings of Lebanon Seasonal: Beirut
Zagros Airlines Seasonal: Moscow-Domodedovo, Tbilisi


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
Uzbekistan Airways Cargo Navoi Cargo B

Ground transportation



An extension of the southern part of Tehran Metro Line 1 towards IKA airport and the new town of Parand is presently under construction. One station at the current passenger terminal (Terminal 1) is undergoing final stages of construction. There are also provisions for a second station serving the planned Iranshahr Terminal (Terminal 3). The service is not expected to commence operations before March 2017.

There are further plans to have Tehran Metro Line 3 reach its southern terminus at either IKA or the new town of Parand located 15 km to the west of the airport. A formal decision is yet to be finalized on the choice of terminus.

High-speed rail

The airport is planned to be served by the Tehran-Qom-Isfahan High Speed Rail. The new link will enable direct rail access from the cities of Qom and Isfahan and a fast non-stop connection to Tehran Railway Station. The line is currently in early planning and construction phase.


Imam Khomeini Airport is accessible from Tehran by car, taxi and shuttle buses via Tehran-Qom and Tehran-Saveh freeways. Airport-operated taxis serve arriving passenger 24/7. As of December 2016, a typical taxi journey from the airport to the center of Tehran takes around 45 minutes and costs approximately 600000 IRR ($15).

Accidents and incident

See also


  1. ^ "Traffic Figures". Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  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. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/29/iran-pilgrims-will-not-attend-hajj-amid-row-with-saudi-arabia
  8. ^ "(IKA) Imam Khomeini International Airport". Retrieved 1 June 2015. 
  9. ^ http://www.france24.com/en/20160418-air-france-plane-lands-iran-first-time-8-years
  10. ^ http://www.aviationiran.com/2016/05/12/airasia-x-resumes-tehran-flights/
  11. ^ http://www.iran-daily.com/News/140072.html
  12. ^ http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/254532/air-astana-delays-tehran-launch-to-late-june-2016/
  13. ^ http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/breaking-news/253154/british-airways-latest-of-several-airlines-to-add-flights-to-iran/?highlight=ika
  14. ^ http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/253157/china-southern-increases-tehran-flights-from-april-2016/?highlight=china southern airlines
  15. ^ airlineroute.net/2015/10/21/lh-mucika-s16/
  16. ^ Liu, Jim. "Thai Airways adds Tehran service from Oct 2016". Routesonline. Retrieved 3 August 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c http://www.aviationiran.com/2016/06/30/update-on-the-new-ikia-terminals-air-astana-started-tehran-flights/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/09/27/430954/iran-transport-ikia-airport-french-companies.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ [1] Archived 21 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ International hotel chains opening in Iran at Imam Khomeini Airport
  21. ^ "Air India Express revises Tehran launch to late-March 2017". Airlineroute. Retrieved 4 February 2017. 
  22. ^ a b http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/270615/iran-air-moves-east-asia-service-resumption-to-mar-2017/
  23. ^ Liu, Jim. "Mahan Air schedules Baku launch in Feb 2017". 
  24. ^ Liu, Jim (9 January 2017). "S7 Airlines adds Tehran / Urumqi service in S17". Routesonline. Retrieved 9 January 2017. 
  25. ^ "Iranian Airliner Crashes in Northwest, Killing 168". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved 15 July 2009. 

External links

Media related to Imam Khomeini International Airport at Wikimedia Commons