Islamabad International Airport

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Islamabad International Airport
Logo of Islamabad International Airport.jpg
Islamabad International Airport 2022.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorPakistan Civil Aviation Authority[1]
ServesIslamabad-Rawalpindi region
LocationFateh Jang, Punjab, Pakistan
Opened1 May 2018
(4 years ago)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL1,761 ft / 537 m
Coordinates33°32′56.70″N 72°49′32.34″E / 33.5490833°N 72.8256500°E / 33.5490833; 72.8256500Coordinates: 33°32′56.70″N 72°49′32.34″E / 33.5490833°N 72.8256500°E / 33.5490833; 72.8256500

Location in Islamabad
ISB/OPIS is located in Punjab, Pakistan
Location of new Islamabad International Airport in Pakistan
ISB/OPIS is located in Pakistan
ISB/OPIS (Pakistan)
ISB/OPIS is located in Asia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
28L/10R 3,657.6 12,000 Asphalt
28R/10L 3,657.6 12,000 Asphalt
Statistics (2018-2019)

Islamabad International Airport (IATA: ISB, ICAO: OPIS) is the international airport serving Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. It is located 25 km (16 mi) south-west of the city, and is accessed via Srinagar Highway.

The airport commenced full operations in 6 May 2018, replacing the defunct Benazir Bhutto International Airport which now forms part of the PAF Base Nur Khan.[4] It is the largest cargo airport in Pakistan and also in terms of area and passenger capacity, capable of serving 9 million passengers yearly.[5] Further expansions in the future will allow it to serve up to 25 million passengers yearly. It is the second busiest airport in Pakistan in terms of passenger traffic after Jinnah International Airport, Karachi. The terminal includes 15 gates with ten remote gates, duty-free shops, a food court and 42 immigration counters.[6] Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority is acquiring 2,833 acres (11.46 km2 / 4.42 sq mi) of land to build a third runway. It is the first and only airport in Pakistan capable of handling the Airbus A380. A metrobus rapid transit service connects the airport with Islamabad and Rawalpindi, it was completed on 18 April 2022.[7]

Bus stop of the Islamabad Metro Bus at Islamabad International

History and details[edit]

Early 3D visualization of the airport
Islamabad International Airport view from Parking Area.

Construction of the Islamabad International Airport (ICAO: OPIS) began on 7 April 2007 and was inaugurated formally on 20 April 2018 for regular international and domestic flights.

The plan to construct a new airport was announced in January 2005 by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority.[8] A land of 3,242 acres (1,312 ha) land was acquired at the cost of Rs 2.5 billion in November 2005.[9]

The new airport was planned in response to increasing air traffic and passenger loads at the existing Benazir Bhutto International Airport. It was estimated that the number of passengers at the former airport was growing by 14 percent annually compared to the national air passenger growth rate of 4 percent, making it the second busiest airport in the country at the time. Therefore, a site in Ranjha, Attock district was selected as the site for the construction of a new airport just a few kilometers from the Islamabad interchange on M-1/M-2 motorways. The foundation stone of the project was laid by former President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on 7 April 2007.[10][11]

It was a project of the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority (PCAA) and designed by French company Aéroports de Paris Ingenierie (ADPi) and CPG Corporation of Singapore. The whole project was financed by PCAA on its own. It is built on more than 3,200 acres of land and consists of a passenger terminal building, 2 runways, taxiways, and apron and parking bays for wide-body aircraft. There is also a cargo terminal, air traffic control complex, fuel farm, as well as a fire, crash, and rescue facility. The site of the airport is near Fateh Jang Tehsil of Attock District. It is 25 km equidistant from Zero Point, Islamabad and from Saddar, Rawalpindi.[12] The airport is on par with international standards & serves as a major hub for all aviation activities in Pakistan.

The PCAA asked a team of British architects to design the new airport. PCAA signed an agreement with the Louis Berger Group in the US in association with Pakistani consulting firm GT AASR, to undertake project management services. The airport was to complete in 5 years but took 12 years to complete resulting in a 3 times increase in cost. On 1 May 2018, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi officially inaugurated the new airport.[13] This was followed up with the airport commencing full commercial flight operations on 3 May 2018 and thus replacing the old airport.

On 8 July 2018, the first Airbus A380 landed in Islamabad, arriving as Emirates flight EK-2524 from Dubai International Airport. This flight had no seats for sale but the first time an Airbus A380 landed in Pakistan.[14][15]

Pakistan International Airlines has moved its international hub from Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to Islamabad International Airport, better reflecting the origin of its international passengers.[16]


Domestic Arrivals
Interior of domestic arrivals
International Departure Area
Islamabad International Airport parking area

Islamabad International Airport has a 180,000m² modular terminal building which is capable of handling 9 million passengers and 80,000 metric tons cargo per annum. The numbers are expected to reach 25 million passengers by 2024.[17] Being a new airport, a significant portion of the land has been earmarked for commercial purposes such as duty-free shops, a hotel and convention center, air malls, a business centre, food courts, and leisure and cinema facilities.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air Arabia Ras Al Khaimah
Air China Beijing–Capital1[18]
airblue Abu Dhabi, Dubai–International, Jeddah, Karachi, Riyadh, Sharjah
AirSial Karachi[19]
Ariana Afghan Airlines Kabul[20]
British Airways London–Heathrow
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou,[21] Wuhan[22]
Emirates Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Fly Jinnah[23][24] Karachi
Flynas Riyadh
Gulf Air Bahrain
Iraqi Airways Baghdad, Najaf[25]
Jazeera Airways Kuwait City[26]
Kam Air Kabul
Kuwait Airways Kuwait City
Oman Air Muscat
Pakistan International Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bahawalpur, Baku, Beijing–Capital, Chengdu–Shuangliu, Chitral, Dammam, Doha, Dubai–International, Gassim, Gilgit, Istanbul,[27] Jeddah, Kabul (suspended), Karachi, Kuala Lumpur–International, Lahore, Medina, Multan, Muscat, Quetta, Rahim Yar Khan, Riyadh, Saidu Sharif, Sialkot, Skardu, Sukkur, Ta'if, Toronto–Pearson
Qatar Airways Doha
Saudia Jeddah, Riyadh
Serene Air Dubai–International, Karachi, Medina, Quetta, Sharjah
Somon Air Dushanbe
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Turkish Airlines Istanbul[28]
Virgin Atlantic London–Heathrow

1: Air China's flight from Islamabad to Beijing make a stop over in Karachi. However, the airline has no traffic rights to transport passengers solely between Islamabad and Karachi.


Turkish Cargo Istanbul


Busiest routes at Islamabad International Airport (by number of flights weekly)
Rank City Country Number of flights Airlines
1 Karachi Pakistan 92 airblue, AirSial, Fly Jinnah, Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
2 Dubai United Arab Emirates 33 airblue, Emirates, Pakistan International Airlines
3 Jeddah Saudi Arabia 30 airblue, Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
4 Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates 27 airblue, Etihad Airways, Pakistan International Airlines
5 Doha Qatar 18 Pakistan International Airlines, Qatar Airways
6 Lahore Pakistan 17 Pakistan International Airlines
7 Quetta Pakistan 15 Pakistan International Airlines, Serene Air
8 Riyadh Saudi Arabia 13 Flynas, Pakistan International Airlines, Saudia
9 Gilgit Pakistan 12 Pakistan International Airlines
10 Muscat Oman 12 Oman Air, Pakistan International Airlines

Ground transport[edit]

Airport link road alongside metrobus line on Srinagar Highway

The airport is connected to Islamabad via the Srinagar Highway and Rawalpindi via the GT Road (Highway N-5). A four-lane highway is also under construction to serve cargo traffic.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PCAA | Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority".
  2. ^ "First pictures: New Islamabad airport opens, to handle up to 25m flyers a year". 1 May 2018. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  3. ^ "PAC warns of using 2 runways of new Islamabad Airport at a time". Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  4. ^ "New Islamabad airport finally operational after years of delay". The Nation. 3 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Islamabad International Airport - IIAP - اسلام آباد انٹرنیشنل ائیرپورٹ". Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  6. ^ "New Islamabad airport: Rs3 billion allocated for road network - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 19 June 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  7. ^ "PM urges China to include KCR in CPEC schemes". 18 April 2022.
  8. ^ "New Islamabad Airport to be built at Fateh Jang". The Business Recorder. Pakistan. 11 April 2005.
  9. ^ "Land for Islamabad airport acquired". The Business Recorder. Pakistan. 15 November 2007.
  10. ^ "Islamabad International Airport under construction". The News. Pakistan. 29 June 2007.
  11. ^ "President to open new airport on April 7". The News. Pakistan. 25 March 2007.
  12. ^ "New BB Airport to open in June next year: Asif Yasin". The News. Pakistan. 14 April 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  13. ^ "New Islamabad airport inaugurated after years of delay - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 1 May 2018. Retrieved 1 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Dubai's Emirates flies one-off A380 to Pakistan's Islamabad". Gulf Business. 8 July 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  15. ^ "Emirates announces one-off A380 service into Islamabad, Pakistan". Emirates announces one-off A380 service into Islamabad, Pakistan. Retrieved 29 March 2022.
  16. ^ Karachi (7 August 2019). "PIA shifts hub of int'l flights to Islamabad | The Express Tribune". Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Benazir Bhutto New Islamabad International Airport, Pakistan". Airport Technology. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Mainland Chinese Carriers Aug - Oct 2022 International Service - 07AUG22". AeroRoutes. 8 August 2022. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  19. ^ "AirSial expected to start operations in Pakistan next month, first plane lands in Karachi". 29 November 2020. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
  20. ^ "Kabul passport office suspends work as demand crashes system". Reuters. 16 November 2021. Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  21. ^ "China Southern Adds Guangzhou – Islamabad / Nairobi Service in 1Q23". Aeroroutes. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  22. ^ "China Southern Airlines launches direct Wuhan-Islamabad flights". 30 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Pakistan's low-cost airline Fly Jinnah set to commence operations after securing license". 20 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Fly Jinnah".
  25. ^ "Iraqi adds flights to Islamabad". 27 July 2022. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  26. ^ "Jazeera Airways Plans Islamabad Addition in Dec 2022".
  27. ^ "PIA to resume Turkiye flight operations from November 14". 7 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Istanbul's New Airport Is A Hot Beautiful Mess". One Mile at a Time. 9 April 2019.
  29. ^ Recorder, Business. "Road network for new Islamabad Airport: Dar approves Rs 11 billion project". Business Recorder. Retrieved 22 November 2016. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)


External links[edit]

Media related to Islamabad International Airport at Wikimedia Commons