Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport

Coordinates: 23°50′34″N 090°24′02″E / 23.84278°N 90.40056°E / 23.84278; 90.40056 (Shah Jalal International Airport)
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Hazrat Shahjalal
International Airport

হযরত শাহ্জালাল আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর
Airport typePublic / military
OwnerMinistry of Civil Aviation and Tourism
OperatorCivil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB)
ServesDhaka Division
LocationKurmitola, Dhaka-1229, Bangladesh
Opened1981; 43 years ago (1981)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL27 ft / 8 m
Coordinates23°50′34″N 090°24′02″E / 23.84278°N 90.40056°E / 23.84278; 90.40056 (Shah Jalal International Airport)
DAC is located in Bangladesh
Location of airport in Bangladesh
Direction Length Surface
m ft
14/32 3,505 11,500 Asphalt
Statistics (2019)
Passenger movements6,347,000
Cargo handled (tonnes)517,940
Source: Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh[1][2]

Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (Bengali: হযরত শাহ্‌জালাল আন্তর্জাতিক বিমানবন্দর, Romanized: Hôzrôt Shahjalal Antôrjatik Bimanbôndôr), (IATA: DAC, ICAO: VGHS, formerly VGZR), is the main international airport serving Dhaka City, the capital city of Bangladesh, and it is the largest airport in Bangladesh. It is located in Kurmitola, 17 km (11 mi) from the city centre, in the northern part of Dhaka. The airport is also used as a base of the Bangladesh Air Force. The airport has an area of 802 hectares (1,981 acres). The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) operates and maintains the airport. It started operations in 1980, taking over from Tejgaon Airport as the principal international airport of the country. The airport was formerly known as Dacca International Airport and later as Zia International Airport, before being named in honour of Shah Jalal, who is one of the most respected Sufi saints of Bangladesh. The IATA code of the airport "DAC" is derived from "Dacca", which is the previously used spelling for "Dhaka".

It is the primary hub of most of airlines in Bangladesh including Air Astra, Novoair, US-Bangla Airlines, and the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines. The annual passenger handling capacity of the airport is 18.5 million passengers,[3][4] and this passenger handling capacity is predicted by CAAB to be sufficient until 2026.[5] In 2014, the airport handled 9.1 million passengers and 248,000 tonnes of cargo.[6] Average aircraft movement per day is around 190 flights.[7][8] Ground handling at the airport is provided by Biman Ground Handling, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Biman Bangladesh Airlines.[9] The airport has complete Wi-Fi Internet coverage and all the terminals of the airport have multiple First Class and Business Class executive lounges operated by Five Star hotels, such as Intercontinental Dhaka; Bangladeshi companies such as Eastern Bank Skylounge[10] or City Bank American Express Lounge;[11] as well as local and foreign airlines. Passengers travelling on First Class or Business Class air tickets, as well as economy passengers who are Priority Pass card holders, have complimentary access to select lounges.[12][13]

Location and connectivity

The airport is located in Kurmitola, 11 nautical miles (20.37 kilometres; 12.66 miles) north of the downtown Dhaka.[14] It can be accessed by the eight-lane Airport Road.[14] To the north of the airport lies Uttara area and Gazipur city, while Dhaka city lies to its south. There is a railway station immediately outside (facing) the airport named Airport Railway Station.[15][16] Lots of Bangladeshi and international ride sharing and ride hailing apps or companies operate vehicles to and from the airport such as Obhai, Pathao, Shohoz, Uber, etc. There is also a taxi kiosk, located near the exit gate of the international arrivals concourse hall, where one can order a taxi and pre-pay the taxi fare. The airport has been almost engulfed by the city, due to the expansion and development work of real estate companies and the government, prompting the authorities to construct a third terminal and consider building another international airport elsewhere in Dhaka district.[17]


In 1941, during the Second World War, the British government built a landing strip at Kurmitola, several kilometres north of Tejgaon, as a spare landing strip for the Tejgaon Airport, which at the time was a military airport, to operate warplanes towards the war fields of Kohima (then in Assam) and Burmese war theatres.[18][unreliable source?][19]

After the creation of Pakistan in 1947, Tejgaon Airport became the first civilian airport in what was then East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). During the 1965 Indo-Pakistani war, the then abandoned airstrip was bombed by Indian Air Force, thinking it to be the Tejgaon Airport as the base.[20] In 1966, a project was taken by the then Pakistan Government to construct a new airport, and the present site north of Kurmitola was selected. A tender was floated for the construction of the terminal building and the runway under the technical support of French experts. A rail station (present day Airport Railway Station) was also built near the site for the transportation of construction materials. However, the new airstrip was only halfway done when the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in 1971. During the war, the airstrip suffered severe damage.[citation needed]

After independence, the Government of Bangladesh restarted works abandoned by the previous contractors and consultants during the war. The government decided to make the airport the country's main international airport and appointed Aéroports de Paris of France as its new consultants. The airport began operations in 1980 after the main runway and central portion of the present terminal building was formally opened by then President of Bangladesh Ziaur Rahman as Dacca International Airport ("Dacca" is the former spelling of "Dhaka").[21][22] The project took a further three years to complete, during which time Ziaur Rahman was assassinated in 1981. Thus, after its completion in 1983, then President Abdus Sattar re-inaugurated the airport as Zia International Airport.[23]

In December 1993, Biman Bangladesh Airlines launched a route to New York City via Delhi, Dubai and Amsterdam. The flight was operated by McDonnell Douglas DC-10s.[24] Biman later routed the outbound flight from Dhaka through Dubai and Brussels and the inbound one through Brussels. The company discontinued the service in July 2006.[25] In 2010, the government changed the airport's name once again, from Zia International Airport to the present name of Shahjalal International Airport, in honour of Shah Jalal, one of the most respected Sufi saints of Bangladesh.[26] The airport's ICAO code was also changed to reflect the name change, from VGZR to VGHS.

On 6 December 2011, a Boeing 787-9 (flight ZA006) stopped for refuelling at Shahjalal International Airport during a distance, speed, and endurance record attempt. This aircraft, powered by General Electric GEnx engines, had flown 10,710 nautical miles (19,830 km) non-stop from Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington eastward to Shahjalal International Airport, setting a new world distance record for aircraft in the weight class of the 787, which is between 440,000 pounds (200,000 kg) and 550,000 pounds (250,000 kg). This flight surpassed the previous distance record of 9,127 nautical miles (16,903 km), set in 2002 by an Airbus A330. The Boeing 787 then continued eastbound from Dhaka to return to Boeing Field, setting a world-circling speed record of 42 hours, 27 minutes.[27]

In July 2022, Biman inaugurated a route to Toronto using Boeing 787s. Although the flight from Dhaka to Toronto made a technical stop in Istanbul, the inbound flight was nonstop.[28][29] Four months later, the airline routed the latter via Istanbul as well.[30]

Development and expansion

In 1992, the airport terminal area experienced rapid expansion with addition of boarding bridges and equipment. A multistorey car park with space for 500 cars was also built at this time.

The airport has been set up and upgraded with technology and instruments worth 70 million (US$650,000) up to the 2nd quarter of 2012, by the CAAB. They include: instrument landing system, distance measuring equipment and flight calibration system, which will help the operational standards of the airport. Two more boarding bridges have been operational, and another is under manufacturing. Asphalt runway overlay began in December 2012 by the Bangladeshi company Abdul Monem Ltd;[31] it took six months to complete. Further improvements in the taxiway and runway lighting system will be made by funds from Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) worth 4.5 billion (US$42 million). Further projects include: primary and secondary radar, a new control tower and a modern drainage system.[7][32] Parking facilities are being upgraded, both for passenger and cargo aircraft, of the airport extension works of passenger and cargo aprons are also going on.[8] The project will cost 440 million (US$4.1 million) and will provide facility to park four wide-bodied passenger aircraft and two wide-bodied cargo aircraft side by side.[8] In recent years, CAAB has completed modernisation and beautification of the two terminal buildings, constructed five aircraft parking bays, installed two more boarding bridges, re-installed a power plant to ensure 24 hours power supply, and added more passenger check-in and immigration counters and baggage conveyor belts.[8]

In recent years, the internal designs such as concourse, toilets and other parts were also upgraded. The duty-free shops brought in international luxury branded products. As part of the development plan, the first international chain cafe, Barista Lavazza, was opened in the international terminal in 2014 followed by Krispy Kreme in 2017.

In October 2021, the CAAB entered into an agreement with the French company Thales LAS to construct a new advanced radar system at the airport. Valued at 730.13 crore (US$68 million), this system will replace the decades-old existing radar, which lacks the capability to detect all aircraft flying over Bangladesh's airspace, particularly those over the Bay of Bengal. The project aimed at achieving full surveillance of the entire airspace of the country is scheduled to be fully operational by mid-2024.[33]

Development of the third terminal

Third terminal under construction

On 28 December 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. The construction work of the third terminal will be done by Aviation Dhaka Consortium (ADC), which comprises Mitsubishi Corporation, Fujita Corporation and Samsung C&T Corporation.[34] The estimated cost of the whole project is 21398 crore (US$2.0 billion).[35][36] The terminal building was designed by Singaporean architect Rohani Baharin.[37]

The construction of the new third terminal of the airport will be completed by May 2024.[38] The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) provided the financial assistance of 16141 crore (US$1.5 billion) for the project in the form of loans, while the rest of 5257 crore (US$490 million) was contributed by the Government of Bangladesh. The terminal will cover an area of 542,000 m2 (134 acres), including the passenger terminal with a floor area of roughly 230,000 m2 (2,500,000 sq ft); a 5,900 m2 (64,000 sq ft) square VVIP complex; a 41,200 m2 (443,000 sq ft) cargo building; and multi-level car parking building having a capacity of parking 1,044 cars, with a tunnel. Upon completion of the third terminal, the passenger handling capacity of the airport will increase to 24 million from the current 8 million per annum. 37 aeroplanes can be parked at the terminal at once. Cargo handling capacity will also increase to 500,000 from 200,000 tonnes annually.[39][40] A corridor will also be built to connect the new terminal with the two existing terminals.

Second runway

A feasibility study was conducted to add a parallel, second runway at a cost of 10 billion (US$93 million) in 2014.[8] The project was undertaken to cope with rising air traffic, to take pressure off the lone runway, and to double the capacity of the airport. CAAB predicts that the airport's traffic will surpass 10 million passengers and freight. However, 60% of the airport's 2000-acre land remained unutilized in 2014.[41]

In July 2023, CAAB submitted its report to Ministry of Civil Aviation about the possibility of constructing a second dependent runway in the airport due to space constraints. In its report, the CAAB suggested constructing 3,292 m (10,801 ft) long-dependent runway with the existing runway to be extended to 3,692 m (12,113 ft). The new runway will not be used for take-off and landings simultaneously as the proximity between the two runways will be just 359 meters against the ICAO mandated 1,035-meter space needed for ILS-enabled runway. However, the second runway will be mainly used for taxiing or preparing for take-off during busy hours and will be used for take-off and landings in case the main runway remains closed due to an emergency or maintenance. The construction of the second runway is expected to be started after the completion of the third terminal in May 2024.[42]


Terminal 1, Terminal 2 and Domestic Terminal

Terminal interior

The airport has three major terminals. Terminal 1 (T1) and Terminal 2 (T2) are for international flights, and they are located in the same building. T1, on the ground floor, is used as the international arrivals concourse hall. T2, on the upper floor, serves as the international departures concourse hall. A third adjacent terminal building, known as the Domestic Terminal, is for domestic flights. This is located to the left of the international terminals. In the one-storey Domestic Terminal, both the arrivals concourse hall and the departures concourse hall are on the same floor.

Terminal 3

Construction of the third terminal started in December 2019 and is still under construction.[8][38] According to the project design, the facilities of the terminal includes, 26 boarding bridges of which 12 will be built in the first phase and additional 14 bridges will be built at a later phase, 16 conveyor belts, 115 check-in counters including 15 self-check-in kiosk, 64 departure immigration desks, 59 arrival immigration, 3 VIP immigration desks and 10 automated 'e-gates' at the exit. For the passengers' convenience there will be 12 walkalators, 35 escalators, and 43 elevators.[43][44]

On 7 October 2023, the terminal was partially inaugurated, with 90 percent physical work being done, by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina and the terminal is expected to be fully operational by October 2024.[45][46]

VVIP and VIP Lounges at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport

VIP terminal

A VIP terminal building is located to the right of the international terminals. The VIP terminal is built only about 200 metres (220 yards) from the main gate.

Cargo terminal

There is a cargo terminal at the airport which has a capacity of 200,000 tons per annum. This will be increased to 500,000 tons after the completion of the ongoing renovation and expansion project.[47]

Airlines and destinations

Biman Bangladesh aircraft in HSIA
Biman Bangladesh in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
Air Astra and Air Arabia
Air Astra, a Bangladeshi private airlines sharing the airport with its international counterparts


Air ArabiaAbu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah [48]
AirAsia Kuala Lumpur–International
Air Astra Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Sylhet[49]
Air India Delhi,[50] Kolkata
Air Premia Charter: Seoul–Incheon[51][52]
Batik Air Malaysia Kuala Lumpur–International
Biman Bangladesh Airlines Abu Dhabi, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Barisal, Chennai,[53] Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Dammam, Delhi, Doha, Dubai–International, Guangzhou,[54] Jeddah, Jessore, Kathmandu, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur–International, Kuwait, London–Heathrow, Medina, Muscat, Rajshahi, Riyadh, Rome–Fiumicino,[55] Saidpur, Sharjah, Singapore, Sylhet, Tokyo–Narita,[56] Toronto–Pearson,1[57] Yangon[58]
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong[59]
China Eastern Airlines Kunming[60]
China Southern Airlines Beijing–Daxing (begins 19 May 2024),[61] Guangzhou[62]
Drukair Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Paro[63]
Egyptair Cairo[64]
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa[65]
FitsAir Colombo–Bandaranaike [66]
Flydubai Dubai–International[67]
Gulf Air Bahrain
Himalaya Airlines Kathmandu[68]
IndiGo Chennai,[69] Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai[70]
Jazeera Airways Kuwait[71]
Jin Air Seasonal: Seoul–Incheon
Kuwait Airways Kuwait
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Maldivian Malé
Myanmar Airways International Yangon (begins 1 June 2024)[72]
Novoair Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Kolkata, Rajshahi, Saidpur, Sylhet[73]
Oman Air Muscat[74]
Qatar Airways Doha
Salam Air Muscat
Saudia Dammam, Jeddah, Medina, Riyadh
Singapore Airlines Singapore
SriLankan Airlines Colombo–Bandaranaike
Thai AirAsia Bangkok–Don Mueang[75]
Thai Airways International Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Thai Lion Air Bangkok–Don Mueang[76]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul
US-Bangla Airlines Abu Dhabi (begins 19 April 2024),[77] Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Barisal, Chennai, Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Doha, Dubai–International, Guangzhou, Jessore, Kolkata, Kuala Lumpur–International, Malé, Muscat, Rajshahi, Saidpur, Sharjah,[78] Singapore, Sylhet
Vistara Delhi, Mumbai[79]

^1 : Biman Bangladesh Airlines's flight from Dhaka to Toronto and vice versa makes a technical stop at Istanbul for refueling and crew change. Biman Bangladesh does not carry passengers solely from Dhaka to Istanbul, nor does the airline have fifth freedom rights to fly passengers from Istanbul to Toronto.[80]


Cathay Pacific Cargo in HSIA
An international cargo aircraft in Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport
Air Bridge Cargo Krasnoyarsk, Shanghai–Pudong [citation needed]
Cathay Cargo Hanoi, Hong Kong [citation needed]
China Cargo Airlines Shanghai–Pudong, Zhengzhou[citation needed]
Easy Fly Express Delhi, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Zhengzhou [81]
Ethiopian Cargo Addis Ababa [citation needed]
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi, Hanoi
Hong Kong Air Cargo Hong Kong [citation needed]
Qatar Airways Cargo Doha[citation needed]
Saudia Cargo Dammam, Jeddah, Riyadh[citation needed]
SF Airlines Chengdu–Shuangliu, Changsha
Silk Way Airlines Baku [citation needed]
SkyAir Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Jessore, Sylhet [82]
Sky Gates Airlines Baku [citation needed]
Singapore Airlines Cargo Amsterdam, Sharjah, Singapore [citation needed]
Tianjin Air Cargo Nanning
Turkish Cargo Almaty, Ashgabat, Istanbul [citation needed]
YTO Cargo Airlines Hangzhou, Nanning

Accidents and incidents


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External links